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Buffalo police officer charged with stealing $130 from woman’s purse

A Buffalo police officer has been charged with taking $130 from a woman’s pocketbook while on duty this summer outside an Elmwood Avenue cafe.

Northwest District Officer Michael R. Missana, 42, was arraigned Thursday before acting State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller on a sealed indictment charging him with petit larceny and official misconduct, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said.

The alleged theft occurred Aug. 21, after a woman’s pocketbook was found at Caffe Aroma, 957 Elmwood, Sedita said.

“Someone obviously left behind her pocketbook,” Sedita said. “A Good Samaritan discovered it and did what you’re supposed to do, turned it over to a police officer and asked the officer to find the owner and return the property.”

Missana, who was outside the cafe at Elmwood and Bidwell Parkway, agreed to return the property, Sedita said.

He returned the pocketbook but allegedly had lifted $130 out of a wallet that it contained, Sedita said.

Missana has been on the force for less than two years and only recently completed his probation, police sources added.

Police officers disturbed about the theft interrogated Missana, who confessed, sources confirmed.

Investigators with the District Attorney’s Office met with Missana, who admitted to them, too, that he had stolen the money, authorities said.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda initially suspended Missana without pay for 30 days. Missana remains suspended but now is back on the payroll, according to the department. Missana could face up to a year in the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.

email: jkwiatkowski@buffnews.com and lmichel@buffnews.com