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BLASDELL HUSBAND'S RECORD STIRS INTEREST
MISSING WOMAN HAD PROTECTION ORDER

Shortly after 5 a.m. last Nov. 24, a man in a blue minivan shined a powerful spotlight on a vehicle with two female occupants and motioned them to pull off Route 5 in Lackawanna.

The man identified himself as an undercover CIA agent and then ordered both women out of the vehicle.

"He patted them down, touching them inappropriately, and made degrading comments," the police report on the incident stated.

That man was Robert Piwowar, the husband of Michelle Piwowar, the missing Blasdell woman who police suspect was the victim of foul play 10 days ago.

That's just one of the incidents on Piwowar's record, a history of crimes that make law enforcement officials even more suspicious about his possible involvement in his wife's disappearance.

Police have said Piwowar, 36, violated at least three orders of protection issued against him, during a stormy marriage that had been plagued by domestic abuse.

Robert Piwowar told police he had been with his wife the night before she disappeared, and law enforcement officials suspect the Piwowars had been living together before her disappearance. So he was jailed on a felony criminal contempt charge for violating the latest order of protection.

Late last week, authorities said, a judge ruled Piwowar had violated his probation, in connection with the incident on Route 5.

In perhaps the most bizarre aspect of that predawn incident, the two women eventually demanded to see his identification.

They told him they planned to report the incident to Lackawanna police, and Piwowar escorted them to the police station, where he was arrested on four charges.

Those charges included criminal impersonation of an officer, forcible touching and harassment.

Piwowar pleaded guilty to two charges, had two others dismissed and was sentenced to three years' probation, authorities said.

Meanwhile, police, family members and friends have conducted at least 15 searches for Michelle Piwowar, 35, without finding her or her body.

The searches have included the use of the Erie County sheriff's helicopter, with its thermal-seeking infrared camera, and the use of cadaver dogs, which found the body of a dog buried in Tifft Farms.

Police, though, remain tight-lipped about the specifics of their investigation, including any physical evidence they may have found.

"We're progressing in the investigation, and we feel very confident this will be prosecuted eventually," said Capt. A. Daniel Shea, the Town of Hamburg chief of detectives.

"We're still hoping we'll find Michelle very soon," Shea said.

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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