North Buffalo Business Owner Arrested For Theft

9:02 PM, Jun 11, 2011   |    comments
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Amherst, NY - Amherst Police say a North Buffalo business owner who lives in their in area was able to steal credit cards from women while they worked out at a health club near his Williamsville home.

Police say his victims were not careful with their belongings.

Investigators identify the suspect as 48-year old James Guttuso. They say while the women were inside the health club, Guttuso was outside checking their vehicles for purses and wallets left out in the open.

Police say Guttuso targeted these women at the BAC Health Club on Evans Street over the past two months. Detective John Stendardi tells 2 On Your Side, once Guttuso broke into a vehicle he would simply take one credit card out of a purse or wallet that was left in plain site, and leave the rest of the contents including cash in many instances alone. This way the victim wouldn't suspect anything for some time.

Once police were able identify Guttuso through the purchases he made, and on some surveillance video from one of the stores, Stendardi says they set out to catch him in the act of stealing in the BAC parking lot.

"The day we observed him, he got out of his car and immediately 1-2-3-4 he started going in all these cars and we were just like followed him and caught him in the act. We were going to stop him, it happened so fast from there he lived to the location he was doing this," said Stendardi.

Guttuso owns the Guttuso's North End Trattoria restaurant on Hertel Avenue. We stopped on Friday, but it wasn't open yet for their evening business.

Police say Guttuso was arraigned for the thefts and credit card frauds and was soon released from custody. He's due back in Amherst Town Court within the next two weeks.

Police are also warning people once again not to leave their valuables inside their vehicles.

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