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The offbeat side of the news

The joke was on him

Call it the caper of the drug dealer’s unwelcoming welcome mat.

The West Side drug dealer apparently thought he was being comical when he placed a mat by his door stating: “Come Back With a Warrant.”

Buffalo narcotics detectives obliged. Actually, they already had a warrant and a key to the dealer’s apartment from his partner, Katherine Linn, who was taken into custody shortly before the raid earlier this week.

As Lt. Sheila Wiles, Detective Sgt. Timothy Mulhern and their crew quietly entered the residence on the 300 block of West Delavan Avenue, Isiah Rodriguez barely noticed his unexpected company.

“He had 490 bags of heroin in front of him and was busy bagging up more,” Mulhern said.

When Rodriguez looked up and took in the sight of seven detectives, he said, “I knew I shouldn’t have been doing this today. I can’t believe you guys are here.”

More than $5,000 in heroin was seized along with $1,700.

No need to knock

The Niagara County Drug Task Force was called to a Town of Wilson home this week for a marijuana investigation, but officers didn’t have to bust their way in. A runaway tire did the work for them.

Shortly after the deputies arrived at the Youngstown-Wilson Road address, a Ransomville Road school bus traveling in the vicinity lost two tires, one of which struck the house, smashing the storm door and knocking the front door off its hinges.

Unable to contact the homeowner, deputies entered the house to secure the now-exposed entryway. Once inside, a deputy spotted a small bag of marijuana on a counter, in addition to a small, dead marijuana plant and drug paraphernalia.

When the homeowner finally arrived on the scene, she was apprised of the damage and promptly arrested. Sheila A. Eckert, 58, was issued a ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana and is scheduled to appear Feb. 10 in Wilson Town Court.

Dueling fake bargains

Jody Lomeo, president and chief executive officer of Kaleida Health, made a generous offer on behalf of Tom Frizzell after the Towne Maserati general manager introduced Lomeo as keynote speaker for The Buffalo News Prospectus Premiere event Wednesday night.

“Tom, on behalf of everyone in the room, very much appreciate the two-for-one sale tomorrow – to everyone in the room – for the new Maserati dealership,” Lomeo deadpanned, prompting laughter in the audience at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens.

A 2015 Maserati Gran Turismo bears a sticker price of $132,825 for the base model. So that would’ve been quite a deal, if it were real. Later, Frizzell good-naturedly turned the tables on the hospital executive.

“My reaction was, there’s a really large co-pay that’s included here, and I wonder if he’s willing to cover that,” Frizzell said.

Ah. We can see it now: Buy one hip replacement, get another joint replacement, of the same or lesser value, free. (Terms and conditions may apply. Offer not valid online or in the U.S. Virgin Islands. See hospital for details).

Hurt off the job

Allan A. Kasprzak made it through a 37-year career with the Buffalo Police Department pretty much physically unscathed, getting out with a minimum of bumps and bruises. He retired from police work on Dec. 30.

A couple of weeks later – on Jan. 15 – Kasprzak fell off a ladder while clearing ice off the gutters of his East Aurora home. He broke five ribs and fractured four vertebrae. He said he is in a lot of pain, but is thankful the injuries weren’t worse.

“It’s a heck of a way to start your retirement from police work,” said Kasprzak, 60, who also happens to be the mayor of the village of East Aurora.

On the positive side, “My doctor told me my ribs did their job,” the ex-cop said. “They protected my inner organs – my heart and my lungs.”

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Lou Michel, Nancy A. Fischer, Stephen T. Watson and Dan Herbeck.