Tonawanda News

Local News

February 28, 2014

Man arrested 71 times picked up in City

Tonawanda News — A small-time thief arrested 71 times since 1982 was picked up again in the City of Tonawanda Wednesday for a string of hits on a local 7-Eleven along Niagara Street. 

Willie J. Boler, 47, of Texas Street, Buffalo, was arrested after an investigation by police detectives. Video surveillance in the convenience store allegedly captured him stealing more than 50 DVD’s over a fourth-month period beginning in October and ending in January. 

Police are now searching for his alleged accomplice, Vernon Reeves, 55, also of Buffalo. 

“It’s just a matter of time before we pick him up,” said police Capt. Frederic Foels, who added that Boler’s rap sheet spans several counties, from Chautauqua to Genesee, and more than a half-dozen municipalities including the Town of Tonawanda, Lackawanna, Amherst, Lancaster, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Hamburg.  

The lengthy record caused one Tonawanda detective to describe Boler’s criminal past as “thicker than the Grand Island phone book.” 

Foels said after viewing the various videos and consulting with other nearby police agencies, detectives learned that Boler would often target 7-eleven stores because “they have a similar layout.” 

“Most of his arrests were property crimes or possession of stolen property,” he said. “He does not appear to be violent. There are no assaults, no murders. But he has quite the criminal history. He’s not a stranger to law enforcement.” 

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