Three Cheektowaga men charged with several burglaries throughout Erie County
BY: Kimberly Snickles, Cheektowaga Source | January 09, 2013
“The most important thing is that the whole thing broke because a good street cop did his job,” said Detective Lt. Rick Walter, Amherst Police Department.
When Amherst Police Officer Julian Chinana was out on a call, he observed a suspicious vehicle near a closed business in December. He immediately wrote down the license plate number and forwarded it to detectives; shortly after the business was reported burglarized. It was this diligent police work that led to a huge break in a string of robberies that occurred in Erie County over the past three months.
“They were pretty much in the whole area; Akron, Alden, Clarence, West Seneca, Town of Cheektowaga, Amherst and the Village of Williamsville,” said Walter. “After we had the license plate number we gathered enough evidence and executed a couple of search warrants.”
Kevin Zimmerman, 23, Jeffrey Zimmerman, 29 and Alfred Tatman, 26 of Ellen Drive, Cheektowaga are being charged with burglarizing dozens of businesses in the area beginning in October. Police said the trio would break into the buildings overnight by prying open back doors or kicking them in, all to feed their heroin addiction.
“They are desperate heroin addicts. They were breaking into smaller type businesses. They would take anything from $10 to $3,000 but it all comes back to heroin, feeding their habits,” said Walter.
Walter added that in his 26 years of police work he has never seen so many burglaries in such a short span of time. The trio faces other related charges and the department is conferring with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms due to handguns that were also stolen from the burglaries.
“We want to make sure that these guns are not used in any shootings, that’s pretty huge,” said Walter.
Amherst Town Justice Geoffrey Klein set bail for Jeffrey Zimmerman at $25,000. Kevin Zimmerman was due back in court Friday, Jan. 11 and Tatman is making arrangements to turn himself in. Police said two out of the three offenders have prior criminal records.