Suspect says 'out of control' addiction to crack cocaine led to robberies
|Mark Maltese||Robert Grant|
In a statement admitting to all three robberies in Batavia and Oakfield over the past week, suspect Mark J. Maltese said the $550 he said he got in the three heists all went to buy crack cocaine, which he said he smoked as soon as he bought it.
Maltese signed a sworn statement in which he he acknowledges his right to remain silent and consult an attorney before talking with police.
"I have been struggling with a major addiction to crack cocaine for about the past six or eight months," Maltese said. "This addiction has consumed me and the majority of my money goes to buy crack to feed by addiction. My crack use got way out of control and I didn't know how to stop or slow down with smoking it. I became desperate for money so that I could get more crack cocaine, so I turned to robbing places to get the money I needed for crack. Every bit of the proceeds from the three robberies went to buy crack for me to smoke. I was out of control with my addiction and didn't know where to turn."
Maltese was arrested early this morning after Batavia police, with back-up from Sheriff's deputies and state troopers, responded to a report of a break-in at the Rent-a-Center at 4152 W. Main St., Batavia.
A worker at a nearby business heard the glass break and called 9-1-1. He took a picture of the suspect's vehicle and was able to provide police with a direction of travel.
The suspect vehicle was located, according to police, at a location on Colonial Boulevard.
A person at that address told police that Maltese and Robert C. Grant carried a large-screen TV into the basement.
In a press conferance at Batavia PD headquarters this morning, Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, Sheriff's Office, said a birthday party was being held at the residence on Colonial Boulevard.
Chief Shawn Heubusch
during press conference
During the subsequent investigation, law enforcement reportedly uncovered evidence that tied Maltese to three recent robberies early Thursday morning at the Best Western on Park Road, early Friday morning at the 7-Eleven in Oakfield, and early Sunday morning at the Days Inn on Noonan Drive, Batavia.
In the first two robberies the suspect displayed what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun. At the robbery Sunday, the suspect threatened the Days Inn clerk with a shotgun.
On Friday, while a deputy was pulled over to the side of the road in the area of the bridge over the Tonawanda Creek in Bushville, a person on a bicycle approached and said, "Look what I found," according to Brewster.
It was a silver BB gun and upon comparison with the gun seen in the video of the 7-Eleven heist, investigators determined it was a likely match.
In his statement to Investigator Ron Welker, Maltese admits to using a silver BB gun in the first two robberies. He said he disposed of the gun after the Oakfield robbery in the area of the bridge on Route 5 near the Willow Bend Inn.
Maltese, 43, of 29 Dellinger Ave., Batavia, was charged in City of Batavia, in the Town of Oakfield and the Town of Batavia with robbery in the second degree.
Both Maltese and Grant, 52, of 2444 Angling Road, Pembroke, were charged with burglary, 2nd, in connection with the alleged break-in at Rent-a-Center, where they allegedly tried to make off with a two large screen TVs and a fake fireplace.
Justice Tom Williams set bail in the Town of Batavia case for Maltese at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.
According to Maltese's statement, he drove his girlfriend's green Toyota Camry to the Best Western on Park Road and entered wearing jeans, a black hoodie with "Army" on it, black gloves, a black knit cap, black and red Nike sneakers and a red bandana covering his face.
He said he walked up to the clerk and pulled out his BB gun and said, "Gimme all your money."
The clerk said, "are you kidding me?" and repeated the question several times. Maltese said he told her he was serious. "This is a robbery."
In her statement to police, the clerk said the suspect told her, "I will shoot you if you don't give me all the money."
The clerk retrieved the money from the cash drawer, he said, and gave it to him and he fled the hotel returning to his residence on Dellinger.
He said he "went up into the attic to figure out what I was going to do next. I then took the money that I got from the robbery which was around $300 and went and spent the entire amount on crack cocaine, and smoked all of it that same night."
Sheriff Gary Maha
during press conference
For the 7-Eleven robbery, Maltese said he wore jeans, a brown hoodie "with some design on it," black gloves, a knit hat, black and red Nike sneakers and a purple bandana covering his face.
He demanded the money in the drawer, got it and left.
He said he spent the entire $50 take on crack cocaine and smoked it all that night.
After the robbery he disposed of the BB gun.
For the Days Inn job, Maltese said he wore jeans, a black hoodie with "New York" on it, black gloves, a knit Sabres hat, black and red Nike sneakers and a black bandana covering his face.
He said he pointed a loaded shotgun at the clerk.
In a statement, the Days Inn clerk said he was frightened during the robbery.
"He said if I pushed any buttons or called anybody, he would shoot me," the clerk said. "I gave him the two drawers. A cash drawer and the change drawer. He pulled the money out the drawers and took the coin holder, too. He then left. He told me as he was backing out the door, that if I called anybody he would come back and shoot me. What scared me was that I actually looked at him."
Maltese said he got away with about $200 and immediately purchased crack cocaine and smoked it all that night.
In his statement, he said Investigator Welker showed him the Nike sneakers, the silver BB gun and a metal coin tray, all of which Maltese said he identified as associated with his robberies.
He said he destroyed the rest of the clothes he wore on those three nights.
Sheriff Gary Maha said the arrest of Maltese demonstrates how closely local law enforcement agencies work together to solve crimes and credited both the investigation that had taken place prior to this morning's Rent-a-Center break-in and the willingness of a witness to contact police and provide detailed information.
Brewster also praised this morning's witness.
"That witness was crucial in identify that vehicle and leading to the arrest of these suspects," Brewster said.
The use of fire arms in robberies create all kinds of dangers for victims, police officers and suspects, Brewster said. A police officer who sees a suspect with a BB gun is likely to believe it's a loaded handgun, he noted.
"We think the danger factor was very high in this case," Brewster said.
The admission by Maltese that his alleged robbery spree was driven by a need to feed a crack cocaine habit and that he had moved up, in a manner of speaking, from using a BB gun to a shotgun, tends to make his timely capture all that more critical, Chief Shawn Heubusch said.
"Any time you have somebody who is addicted to narcotics or doing these types of crimes to feed a habit, it tends to escalate," Heubusch said. "There is a pattern of starting with smaller crimes and getting more serious. It's very concerning. Of course, I can't predict what he would have done next."
Investigators are still trying to determine if Grant or maybe even another person was involved in the robberies, Maha said.
It's possible, according to investigators, the robbery suspect did not drive himself to and from the commission of the crimes.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.
Top Photo: Maltese following arraignment in Town of Batavia Court.
Below are photos submitted by Joanne Shriver, owner of Expert Mitigation Services, the company called in to board up the broken window at Rent-a-Center this morning.
What a bum. Another one that blames drugs for doing stupid things. Sorry Mark, but drugs don't make you do anything. You were willing to risk the lives of other people, and your own, just because you wanted to get high.
If people don't understand that this is exactly why drugs need to be legalized, I just don't understand why they don't understand. First, legalizing it would kill the black market trade. Gang/drug activity would cease to exist because when drug addicts can get what they want for a dollar instead of $100, it's no longer worth trafficking. Drug lords and gestapo style police agencies would evaporate and become a thing of the past. People wouldn't die trying to fight something that cannot be defeated.
I feel like a record that's on a constant skip. For you younger folks, records were a superior audio source before CDs and iPods, but they were a real bitch to play in a moving car.
Did anybody check to see if there were more than 7 BB's in that gun?
If you are gonna commit multiple felonies, you should do it SAFE(ly).
The power of this drug is pretty lethal...I am not making excuses for this guy, but, if you are going into businesses and robbing people at gun point for this stuff....that is one powerful drug!!!!...I actually believe most of what he said in the press release...it's too bad he's going to spend along time behind bars, because he was to weak to reach out for help....I think you can tell he is ashamed just by the way his head hung and his mugshot on the daily news website... I actually feel bad for this guy...
how about taking down the crack dealer that is obvioulsy in the area that is supplying this zombie with crack? All the Brass sit there in a row all proud they finally busted the guy who was practically begging to be caught. this is and embarassment to local law enforcement. how about getting serious about routing the trash and drugs from the area?
I agree! I didn't use to agree with legalizing drugs across the board, however? In recent years I have changed my mind.
Homeboy had a lot of other options, other than armed robbery, if he wanted to continue to keep getting high. Or he could have chosen to give the damn drugs up! Now he'll be asking himself "was it worth it for a few hour crack high?" I hope he hets some long prison time. Armed robbery, with a BB gun or a shotgun, it is very serious, the victims were probably scared to death! 15 years! A long time to think about it!
I know people who were personally affected by this drug....it destroys you and dictates your life....what's wrong with drinking a couple of beers and catching a buzz....I guess that is not enough for some people....
It's funny how many people love to believe that it should be the job of the government to protect them from their self...just pathetic
Three armed robberies and the guy only gets $500..Thats a crack addict....
Getting real tired of these losers doing whatever they want to descent people and businesses and then blaming a drug addiction for the reason they did it!! You are adults, you made the decision to do these drugs, man up and take responsibility!!!!!
Now you can go get some rehab.....maybe do a little time.....then get out and collect some welfare and food stamps because you can't find a job!!!! ENOUGH!!!!!!
What about ascent people?
He was sooooo messed up that he remembers exactly what he wore, stole and did in each individual robbery?
ascent people?!? You mean the rapture happened? Uh oh I'm still here I must be in deep shite.....
I agree Doug. I'm also glad he was caught before he did progress to hurting someone and before he stole more. I'm happy to read that private citizens stood up and helped catch this guy. As for blaming his drug addiction, well 'nuff said about that and it is hardly anything new. Sad
I highly recommend a mini-series that ran on TV called "The Corner" a few years back. It was an amazing look at the pathetic descent of people who use crack and then spend to rest of their mere existence chasing a dragon that gets further out of reach with each attempt to recapture it.
I'm not making a commentary on this local case; it just reminds me of this drama that was so well done, stark and based on real people in Baltimore, Maryland. Maybe it can be found on Hulu.
It's reaaly to bad that none of the cashiers were armed, this could have had a better outcome!!
Steve, drinking to catch a buzz isn't really much different than hitting the
crack pipe to catch a buzz.
You can't hit the crack pipe just for a buzz. When you hit it, you're off to the races on every track in the state. It's a powerful drug that doesn't know the meaning of the word "buzz." Having a drink is nothing like hitting the crack pipe. It's not even in the same room.
I agree Elly, this was his moment of fame, and he certainly enjoyed the attention. I hope he gets an extra 5 years for wearing the “Army” hoodie, what an insult to the men and women who serve in that branch of our military.
Doug, if you admit to a drug counselor you drink to catch a buzz, I will guarentee you will be recommended for treatment. One mans crack binge
is another mans drunken stupor, there is no major difference. The main exception is the time frames, crack works fast and addiction is quick, alcohol is slow, but at the end of the day, both leave a trail of destruction in their wake.
BTW, I never said having "a" drink is anything remotely the same as hitting the crack pipe, I was talking about catching a buzz. Addiction to any drug is most certainly in the same room.
I can remember convincing myself I didn't have a problem, I was just catching a buzz, just a little something to help me relax.I relaxed my way right into full fledged alcoholism. Also, you over rate a crack cocaine high, I have met many crack addicts
and mostly what I often hear is, "we are chasing our first hit" or first buzz from crack.
Your description sounds more like meth.
I would never VOTE to condone the legalization of any illegal drugs at all.. That is the stupidest idea anyone has ever had.. It would not get rid of the Black Market at all because druggies would not want to pay any sales taxes on their purchases because they don't now anyway. And who in their right mind would ever tell the police that they sell/sold drugs & later on in the year they make it illegal again an have all these names of dealers that sell it & they'd be going to jail .. And who wants someone to be able to get high on crack & then go for a drive in their vehicle & kill a busload of kids because they were high & it was legal at the time.. YOU people that want drugs to be legal have more than one screw loose, your drugs have already fried what was left of your "Sh*t For Brains" after the 1st crack hit you had in your sorry ass lives.. Sheesh!!!
Frank Bartholomew: "drinking to catch a buzz isn't really much different than hitting the
crack pipe to catch a buzz."
Frank Bartholomew: "I never said said having "a" drink is anything remotely the same as hitting the crack pipe"
Saying that it isn't much different isn't the same as saying it's similar? My reading comprehension must really be flawed.
When people drink alcohol, they are drinking for its effects...the buzz. I love the taste of beer and certain liquors, but I don't drink just for the taste. Just because someone drinks, that doesn't mean they have a problem. Recovering alcoholics don't believe that, but that's because they actually have a problem and don't want to believe that anyone else can drink and not have a problem. I can't wait to get home so I can walk past the bottle of Jameson and not even look at it.
Your logic worked really well during alcohol prohibition. The drug to traffic on the black market was booze. Some of the largest, most violent, organized crime enterprises in history were born out of alcohol prohibition. When prohibition ended, so did organized crime surrounding alcohol. Guess what else "didn't" happen with the Cullen-Harrison act. The entire country didn't become alcoholics..imagine that.
Doug, in the eyes of those who determine addiction, I stand by every word I've said.
The alcohol "high "would be the "effects" you speak of, and in my book , regardless of my history, is not a bit different than getting high on any other drug.
I love debating on this subject, simply because the alcohol crowd comes in trying to
convince me that alcohol is different than other drugs. A drug is a drug is a drug,
that is the bottom line.
With all that being said, yes I do think your comprehension is a bit off, "isn't really
that different" in other words, not the same, but similar. Most proffesionals would
agree that catching a buzz is drug abuse, or, drug dependency.
I do however, agree that drugs should be decriminalized.
One of the greatest songs ever. What's hard to appreciate some 40 years later is how no other band at the time sounded like Roxy Music. A couple of years later, The Cars would make a whole album with essentially this one song's sound and feel. And this song, sounding very alien compared to other songs of 1975, sounded almost nothing like any other song on Siren or any prior Roxy Music LP. Great band.
This reminds me of a cartoon I read back in the early 70's, 2 guys are in an alley smokin a joint, an older gentlemen spots them and declares,
"potheads turn into junkies", later that day, the potheads spot the same gentlemen at the local pub enjoying a cold beer, to which the potheads
declare,"drinkers turn into drunkies".
That pretty much sums up the debate over alcohol -vs- drugs, there is no debate, alcohol is a drug, and is just as addicting as heroin, crack, meth, pain killers, mood stablizers, etc.etc..
Thanks Dave, now that song is stuck in my head.lol.
Doug, recovering alcoholics/addicts don't give a rats ass what others do with their lives, we have only one goal, to stay sober today.Recovery is a selfish program,our own sobriety is our number one priority every day.Our lives depend on it.
You seem to think that recovering addicts want the rest of the world to remove these drugs so we would never be tempted to relapse, sorry, thats as far from the truth as it gets. I frequent stores, supermarkets, restaurants, sporting events, which all sell my drug of choice, it is no one elses job to keep me from using but mine, no excuses.
Sat next to a lot of people who shared your train of thought at AA meetings.
While I do appreciate and respect the struggle and fight you have with alcohol Frank. There is a big difference, currently the other drugs are illegal, because they are much much more addictive than alcohol.
There are other differences as well, alcoholic beverages are (and historically) were used in lieu of water as back before we had water treatment tech alcohol was a sterile beverage which couldn't support amoeba's, and other viruses that just about wiped out whole communities. Look up blackwater plagues and see what you come up with. It was also used to clean wounds, cook with and bake with. Alcohol has many many more uses as well. The only drug today even close to this is marijuana or hemp as it was also used as rope and base material for rough bags and outer clothing and such.
If you use your definition of these substances being corollary to each other then you should include cigarettes as well as they are used in the same way alcohol is. For the effects of the nicotene in them as it's only fair.
Otherwise I just dont think the belong in the same category.
"in the eyes of those who determine addiction"
Addiction is determined by biochemical and (perhaps redundant) psychological factors. Not everyone becomes addicted to drugs- whether legal, illegal, medical, recreational or otherwise. ...And as evidenced by alcohol, propensity for addiction is not a sole determinant as to legal status of a drug.
So why are some drugs illegal? The two outstanding reasons revolve around WHO profits from the sale and whether uncontrolled use of the drug is PERCEIVED as a threat to the status quo. Marijuana was made illegal because a rich newspaper publisher PERCEIVED hemp cultivation as a threat to his exclusive hold on tree-pulp paper mills. Alcohol and nicotine are legal because multi-billion dollar industries would be sundered if the drugs were not legal. Pot, crack and rock-and-roll were all characterized as threats to white-Christian-America. Rock-and-roll remained legal, because RCA, Capitol, Columbia and Warner made money selling it.
The government (perhaps redundant) and corporations with vested interests in keeping certain drugs illegal have spent billions on ad campaigns to convince the general public that 'drugs' are bad. The campaign was so successful, most people have forgotten that 'drugs' were once dispensed by 'drug stores' as alternative to being sick. PHARMACEUTICAL companies do not want their customers to purchase drugs that deny them profits. Corporations that build prisons, supply tools of the trade to law enforcement, manufacture drug testing kits or otherwise profit from the prosecution of drug law offenders don't want 'drugs' to be legal. Even re-hab clinics don't really want an end to 'drug' use.
How many real estate developers get upset when urban dwellers are evicted and sent to jail for 'drug' crimes?
Two symbiotic concepts: humans like a good buzz and misery is profitable.
Kyle, a drug is a drug is a drug, what part of that is so hard to comprehend? Morphine is an exellent pain killer, doesn't mean it isn't ripe for abuse, Your whole arguement is ridiculous at best Kyle, but agree that nicotine is highly addictive, as well as caffiene and so on and so on.
They are all labeled as drugs, there is no way to determine that an alcoholic is any less an addict than a heroin addict, that arguement is ludicrist.
CM, I should have been more to the point,so, In the eyes of an Intake Specialist/Addiction Counselor......
This debate started because I said telling a crack abuser to catch a buzz on another drug is absolutly ridiculous,. I have yet to hear a realistic counter.
It's like telling a bank robber to rob convienence stores, its not a crime in comparison to robbing banks.
Caffiene is NOT Crack, nor is alcohol in any way similar to meth.
Generalizations are nice and convenient but they don't belong in this conversation. Asprin is a drug yet you arent gonna see it made illegal anytime soon but you lump it in with these others.
As far as addictions go, there is also no way to determine a sex addict is any more or less an addict than an alcoholic, some for video game addicts, or texting addicts or gambling addicts and so on. It doesnt necessarily have to be a substance addiction to be an addiction.
Do you even know what addiction is, lets let the experts tell us what the general definition is...
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect; this is known as tolerance. Because of tolerance, there is a biological reaction when the drug is withdrawn. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.
However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn't what matters; it's the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. To treat this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.
No matter which kind of addiction is being referred to, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure, and addiction has nothing to do with one's morality or strength of character. Experts debate whether addiction is a "disease" or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon. But the lack of resolution does not preclude effective treatment.
You are talking about drug dependancy which does treat all drugs even legal ones the same because it's all about the human body's development of tolerance and the biological reaction when that substance is withdrawn. Called DT's or detoxification.
But the premise that a drug is a drug is a drug is a dangerous concept to be spouting outside of the drug treatment community as it is NOT what reality is.
So my argument is neither ridiculous or ludicrous as I am talking about the substances themselves it takes very very little meth or crack or morphine to become intoxicated than it does alcohol. Even if one is so bad that they need to drink mouthwash to get intoxicated, alcohol is very limiting as if one is drinking beer your body can't possibly hold enough to get so blasted without you running out of money, running out of physical capacity or running out of time. A first time user of heroin can overdose on 200-500mg and a hardcore user od's on 1800mg.
Do you know how small 1800mg is?
As a comparison A shot of alcohol, a glass of wine and a can of beer contain about 14 grams of alcohol , thats 14000mg of alcohol so indeed there is a big difference in drugs.
Now a question for Doug.... Which is the true additive for irish coffee. Jamesons or Baileys?
As for this case, well if you use your drugs and want to kill yourself with them that's one thing. But when you begin to jepordize the public comitting robberies like this and such. Then you have lost control.
This is where the system should step in. If a person is to the point where they have lost all resonable control then it's time for involuntary comittment just like dangerous mental health conditions. For this I dont care what the drug is alcohol or meth or prescription, Using it as an excuse and a reason for lightening sentences is unacceptable.
Kyle,despite your long winded comment, I am still saying, alcohol is just as dangerous as crack, meth heroin, or whatever new club drug hits the streets. The addiction I'm talking about leaves its victims powerless over their drug of choice, and in some cases, without intervention, can lead to death. Bottom line Kyle, are you saying that catching a buzz,or alcohol abuse, is safer than smoking crack?
Every addict I have met is the definition of addiction.
Going back to your comment #29, My struggle ended when I admitted to myself, to God, and another human being that I was powerless over my drug
of choice and needed help to overcome my addiction.
Viewed a photo this am of a 19 yr old passed out in his own vomit, he drank a liter of cheap whiskey, nothing dangerous about that is there Kyle.
I remember when I used to defend alcohol, did that right up until I was defenseless.
Education is the key to help stem the tide of drug use. Start educating kids their first day of school, and don't stop until their last day of school. But please don't ever tell them alcohol is a safer drug than any other, they just might beleive you.