City of Tonawanda Officer Thomas Kitson thought he saw a shadow as he patrolled the Fillmore Avenue business district at 3:55 a.m. Thursday.
Then he spotted two men taking tools out of a warehouse on Peuquet Parkway, which was being used for storage by a Snap-On tool dealer.
The suspects ran from the scene, police said.
Matthew T. Banks-Jubert, 23, of Olcott Ave., Buffalo, ran across a frozen Ellicott Creek, but officers from the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda, North Tonawanda and the Erie County Sheriff K-9 unit pursued him, City of Tonawanda Capt. Frederic Foels said. A K-9 dog picked up a scent and was apprehended Banks-Jubert hiding on a back porch on Edith Street in the City of Tonawanda.
Meanwhile, Ryan M. Walkowiak, 26, of Broadway St., Lancaster, was caught hiding behind some propane tanks in a business next door to the warehouse, Foels said.
After the men were arrested, officers searched their vehicle and found $42,000 in stolen tools, 29 packets of cocaine weighing a total of six ounces, and marijuana, he said. The drugs were found in a compartment in the car's dashboard.
Each suspect is being held on $25,000 bail and facing a long list of felony charges, including burglary, grand larceny and criminal possession of narcotics with intent to sell, plus resisting arrest and possession of marijuana, Foels said.
He said the suspects used a power saw to cut a hole in the door of the warehouse to gain entry and put dark plastic bags on their license plate, likely with the intent to avoid security camera detection.
The victim, William Goc Jr., of Buffalo, is a Snap-On Tools dealer and had been parking his truck in the warehouse and storing his inventory at the site, police said.