Funeral director keeps promise of Thanksgiving dinner for 'Newspaper bandit'

November 24, 2017 12:56 AM

BOLTON LANDING - “I'm thankful I'm thankful for this, it could've been much worse,” John Dozier said. 

After facing arrest for stealing newspapers from an Albany funeral home, Dozier – the so-called newspaper bandit - instead spent Thanksgiving with the funeral home's owner.

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“I would say were eating turkey tonight,” said Mark Levine, owner of Levine Memorial Chapel on Washington Avenue. “Were eating turkey.”

The beginning of the unusual friendship started in September when Levine noticed his deliveries of the Albany Times Union were being stolen from the funeral home. 

Surveillance video showed Dozier taking them. 

“I’m an Oakland raiders fan and I just wanted to know where they played,” Dozier said of the first time he took the paper. 

Dozier said he just kept taking the newspapers each weekend after that. 

“I didn’t think they wanted the papers and weren’t collecting them.”

After a month, Levine confronted Dozier with Albany Police.

However, Levine did not file charges. 

“I said listen, do you have much family,” Levine asked Dozier. “And he said no and I said so how would you like to go with them my family to the Sagamore on Thanksgiving he looked he said oh my God I'd love to,” Levine said of his first conversation with Dozier. 

“When I told him I didn't have no family he just is like he may be his a part of his family,” Dozier said. 

Levine kept his promise over a month later and picked Dozier up from his home just around the corner to the rest of the Levine family for a shuttle ride to the Sagamore Hotel in Bolton Landing for Thanksgiving. 

Dozier said he knows stealing is wrong but he did not mean any harm. 

“I've been reading the paper almost every day for about 45 years now,” he said. 

“He's probably one of the most polite people that I've met. I prescient it on if just a genuinely decent human being,” Levine said. 

Instead of paying the price for his mistake, Dozier has a new friend.

He also learned a good lesson. 

“And I won't mess with nobody else's newspaper though no way,” Dozier said. 

After meeting for the first time, Dozier and Levine learned they both attended Albany High School around the same time and have friends in common. 

They are planning to go to a basketball game together soon. 


WNYT Staff

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