Blind World Magazine

Friend accused of stealing from blind sales clerk.

June 16, 2005.
Buffalo News, New York.

How low can a person get?

Buffalo police say Frank J. Bezlobanko hit an ultimate low when he stole about $230 over a one-month period while helping his friend, an employee at J.R.'s Snax, a concession stand inside Erie County Hall at 92 Franklin St.

The friend, Alex Meister, has partial vision but is legally blind.

"He really took advantage of Alex," Rich Simpson, Meister's boss and owner of J.R.'s Snax stand, said Wednesday. "He must have figured Alex wouldn't know what he was doing because he's blind." Simpson, who has operated the concession stand for seven years, is totally blind.

On Wednesday, Bezlobanko, 52, of Harding Avenue - known as "Frank da Bank" - was arrested on a charge of petit larceny. He appeared in Buffalo City Court and was released on his own recognizance for a City Court appearance July 8.

Meanwhile, Simpson pondered the apparent betrayal of trust.

"Frankie used to help Alex out on the weekends and was one of Alex's friends for years," he said.

"On Judgment Day, he'll have to be face to face with him. I'm a Christian. I can't help but forgive Frankie."

Buffalo police said Bezlobanko had been stealing cash from the store's cash box from May 1 to June 12, by taking rolls of coins and cash on several occasions.

Officers said three video surveillance cameras in the store captured the thefts, and Bezlobanko confessed to police.


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