An elderly Buffalo man who kept his life savings stashed in a box that was tucked in a bedroom dresser of his East Side home was robbed of about $140,000 Tuesday afternoon.
Police arrested two of three suspects shortly afterward at Broadway and Mohr Street, just blocks from the victim's home, and recovered about $87,000.
The third suspect has not been found and presumably has the remainder of the money, police said.
"I should have had this money in a checking account," the victim said this morning in a telephone interview. "I'm a trusting sort of person, which is a little foolish."
The man, a retired auditor for the City of Buffalo, said he had stashed his savings some time ago. The savings and loan debacle had "some effect" on his decision to keep the money in a large box in a dresser drawer rather than deposit it in a bank, said the 70-year-old man, who asked that his name not be used.
But the primary reason for keeping the money in his home was because he trusted others and never imagined the cash would be stolen, he said.
"This used to be a very nice area," he remarked. "People used to be so trusting of each other. They did not have to lock their doors."
The theft occurred between noon and 12:30 p.m. Tuesday while the victim and his 65-year-old brother, who lives with him, were away. Two men and a 16-year-old youth broke into the house through a storm window and ransacked the bedrooms, finding the money, police said.
"They threw everything out of the dressers. They threw everything out on the floor," the man said. "All the dressers were rifled."
The victim said he does not believe the thieves knew he had so much money in the house because he had told only his brother, a retired postal employee, about the cash. The man said he had plans to use the money this spring to buy orbuild a home in West Seneca.
"You don't really expect these things to happen to you," the man said. "The thing that puzzles me is why they chose my house. Did they follow me or watch me? . . . I think they just stumbled on it."
The thieves also stole his brother's cassettes, a tape recorder and a camera, police reported.
"He was a little perturbed because they stole all his tapes," the victim explained.
Officers from the Broadway Station arrested Frank Carluccio, 18, of 51 Mills St. and his brother, Christopher D. Carluccio, 16, of 28 Memorial Drive, about 10:45 p.m. when they spotted them at Broadway and Mohr. Police charged them with burglary and criminal possession of stolen property.
Detectives were still searching for a 19-year-old Mills Street resident and the rest of the money.
The victim said he now plans to deposit his savings in a bank.