Modified: August 21, 2015 11:40am
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announced that 42 year-old Buffalo Police Officer Michael Missana has been convicted as charged of Petit Larceny and Official Misconduct, following a week-long bench trial before Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang.
Missana, who was hired by the Buffalo Police Department on August 3, 2012, was found guilty of stealing approximately $130 on August 12, 2014 from a women’s pocketbook that was found in a restroom inside Café Aroma at 957 Elmwood Avenue. The pocketbook was turned over to Missana by a Good Samaritan who had spotted the officer parked in his patrol car. Missana took possession of the wallet and eventually returned it to its rightful owner, but not before stealing the cash inside.
A complaint was filed with the District Attorney’s Office by the Good Samaritan and the larceny victim the following day. As a result, a Grand Jury investigation was commenced to probe the matter, which resulted in an indictment being filed. At the pronouncement of the trial verdict, Justice Wolfgang praised the efforts of the victim and the Good Samaritan, whom she found to be “very credible” and “good citizens.”
Sentencing is scheduled for September 2, 2015 at 9:30am before Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang. Missana faces up to one year in jail for each offense.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, who suspended Missana immediately after this incident was reported, intends to terminate the officer’s employment for cause. This conviction would also prohibit Missana from becoming a sworn officer elsewhere.
DA Sedita stated: “This case dispels the myth that prosecutors will not prosecute police officers. Although we respect the vitally important and often dangerous work that police officers do, and we do not relish the prospect of prosecuting them, we will not hesitate to do so when the credible evidence demonstrates a police officer committed a crime, as was the case in this matter.”
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael P. Felicetta, Chief of DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.