Man freed, another charged in attempted Wheatfield abduction
A Wheatfield man jailed on a kidnapping charge has been released and a new suspect is behind bars.
Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek says Salvatore Prezioso was the victim of mistaken identity. He was accused by a neighbor of kidnapping a 6-year-old girl from her Ward Street home on June 28. After spending 12 days in jail, Prezioso was exonerated by DNA evidence
Police have since arrested 64-year-old Larry Keiper of Niagara Falls. Sheriff James Voutour says Keiper is a Level 3 sex offender who cut off his ankle monitor.
Keiper was convicted of a sex crime with a teenager in 1983 and was on parole. But Niagara County authorities lost track of him because he had cut off his ankle monitor. He has been charged with attempted abduction.
Voutour says he has been fighting for years to get the New York State Division of Parole to use the same software system used by his department and every other police agency across the state.
"I'm not saying we could have prevented it but I would have liked to known that this guy was on the loose around the neighborhood. You don't cut it off because it's too heavy to wear. You cut it off because you have intentions to do something. This guy is an animal and he prowled around Niagara County and he almost raped a little girl. And besides that, he sent someone else to jail for 12 days. Now I'm saying we could have prevented it, but our chances were much better if we knew," Voutour said at a news conference Tuesday.
Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek says the woman is "devastated" that Prezioso spent time in jail.
"Her natural reaction was just complete fear that the person who did enter that home was a complete stranger and the realization of taking, these of course are allegations at this point, but taking a child for no good. That's for sure," Wojtaszek said.
Wojtaszek says the alleged home invasion was completely random and Keiper didn't know the victims' family. He was arrested for trespassing in the same neighborhood as the attempted abduction and was being held on a parole violation when the new charges were filed against him.