The money’s missing and victim wants justice

GHENT—His cash is gone.

Now he is offering a reward to find out who took it.

On or about Monday, November 26, someone stole $4,000 from the console of William Kuzmiak’s Honda Accord.

Mr. Kuzmiak, who will turn 85 this month, told The Columbia Paper his story this week and announced he will pay $1,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the crook.

Mr. Kuzmiak of Ghent, said he had just sold a pickup truck—a 1996 Chevy S-10 with very low mileage to an acquaintance from Philmont.

He acknowledged that $4,000 is a lot to pay for a truck that old, but this one is like brand new.

Mr. Kuzmiak and the buyer drove together in Mr. Kuzmiak’s car to the Bank of Greene County in Greenport so the buyer could withdraw the money and hand it over to Mr. Kuzmiak. Prior to going to the bank, Mr. Kuzmiak said he took the man to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Hudson so he could register the truck.

Mr. Kuzmiak said he and the buyer also made a stop at Burger King that day for 15 or 20 minutes, though he cannot remember if it was before or after the trip to the bank, where the buyer gave him $4,000 in cash and he concealed it in his car’s console.

After his errands were done for the day, Mr. Kuzmiak said he parked the car in his garage, which is a building separate from his house. He said he did not close the garage door all the way, but rather left it open about four inches so a stray cat that had been coming around could get in out of the cold if it wanted to.

He also said he no longer locks his car, because once a thief who wanted something inside his locked vehicle broke a window to get it.

It was sometime the next day, Tuesday, November 27, after he drove to a doctor’s appointment and returned home that he realized the cash in the console was gone and he reported the theft to State Police in Livingston.

State Police Senior Investigator Eric Barnes confirmed that the matter is under investigation but would not release any details about the case as it is “pending.”

Retired now for about 10 years, Mr. Kuzmiak was a truck driver who worked for various transport and hauling companies. He never smoked or drank and has survived four bouts with lymphoma.

He lives on a couple of acres where he built his own house and spends days when the weather is nice, running an excavator around his property moving dirt and tending to machinery and other maintenance. He subscribes to the notion that age is a state of mind and declares, “I’m not old.”

As for the stolen cash, Mr. Kuzmiak said, “it’s gone” and he believes whoever took it has probably spent it.

But he wants the culprit brought to justice, noting the person went into his car and possibly his garage to take the money and that just isn’t right.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact State Police investigators at the Livingston barracks at 518-851-2001.

To contact Diane Valden email

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