By Lou Michel
News Staff Reporter
The speedboat was broken and taken to a Wheatfield shop for repairs.
But over the weekend, someone took the boat from the repair shop.
Now, Mark D. Grossman, a Niagara County public defender, and his friend, Marc Masich, are charged with one count each of misdemeanor trespass and criminal mischief following the break-in Saturday evening at the Wheatfield marine repair garage, where Masich had taken his boat to be fixed. They were arraigned Tuesday before Cambria Town Justice Amel S. Jowdy.
The boat disappeared from SP Marine on the 2900 block of Niagara Falls Boulevard shortly after Grossman and Masich were caught on video surveillance cameras prowling around the outside of the building, according to Sean Polley, owner of the shop.
Polley, who provided Niagara County Sheriff’s investigators with the surveillance videos, said he believes Grossman and Masich stole the boat, a Baja Hammer, in order to avoid paying a hefty engine repair bill.
“Basically, they were trying to find an entrance, sneaking around the building,” Polley said. “They couldn’t find an easy way in, and so Grossman got a pry bar and broke in through the side entrance. When he discovered a surveillance camera, he walked up to it, and he ripped the wires right out of the camera. But he was caught on two cameras, and you can see his face as clear as day.”
Grossman denies ever setting foot inside the boat repair garage.
“I was there a bunch of times in the past few weeks,” Grossman said. “I was there when the boat was dropped off. I was there when parts were delivered. But I can tell you I have never been in that building.”
Attorney Steven M. Cohen, of HoganWillig law firm, said he is assisting Polley in his attempt to locate the missing boat and obtain payment for the repairs.
“My only interest is to make sure my client is made whole,” Cohen said.
Polley estimated he is out about $7,000 in boat repairs and damage caused by the break-in.
“I want my money,” Polley said. “I need to get paid. I’m just a small business. It’s just me and my partner. My father runs the office with my fiancee.”
Polley said when he viewed the surveillance videos, he was shocked to see Grossman.
“He had come here with Masich when the boat was brought in for repairs,” Polley said. “I’m furious. He is supposed to represent and help people.”
Buffalo defense attorney Herbert L. Greenman represents Grossman.
Masich could not be reached for comment late Tuesday or early Wednesday.