Matthew Cech gets ready to go on patrol with the Essex County Sheriff's Department.
It took Matthew Cech little time as a member of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department to break his first big case.
Cech, 8 years old and from Plattsburgh, known to many in the North Country as Mighty Matthew, was sworn in by Sheriff Richard Cutting April 13 with a specific case in mind: help the department find the Lollipop Bandits.
On the line was the safety of suckers everywhere and a reward of 400-plus lollipops for the person who brought the two bandits — known as Bob Rice and Lloyd LaMotte — to justice.
“They said that these guys had stole lollipops, and I love lollipops,” Cech said, adding that he has been interested in being a member of a police force because “they have tasers.”
Shortly after being sworn in, Mighty Matthew and Sheriff Cutting hit the road on patrol watching for a truck that fit the description of the one being driven by the bandits.
Indeed, Cech was able to spot the vehicle, and a chase ensued along a dirt road in Lewis before the bandits were pulled over and arrested by the newest deputy.
Once in custody, Cech searched the vehicle, finding the evidence he needed, even taking the chance to sample the goods to make sure that it was indeed the lollipops in question.
Following processing and booking, Cech received his reward of lollipops, along with tokens of the sheriff’s appreciation, including the “pepper spray” he used to control the suspects.
As for what he would do with the spray, he gently said, “I am looking at you, Steven,” referring to his 14-year-old brother, who was made a member of Matthew’s posse along with 16-year-old brother Bradley.
For Mighty Matthew, it was another positive day that comes between days of visits to the hospital and therapy as Cech fights against Mitochondrial Disease.
“One of the deputies’ wives (Devann Murphy) had seen Matthew and his story and sent us a message that they would like to put something together for him,” father Terry Cech said. “We communicated back and forth and got everything set up.”
Terry said that moments like these help both Matthew and the family through the tough times.
“We are dealing with a chronic illness, and the outcome is not favorable,” he said. “The outpouring of community spirit and support has been fantastic. He is a lovable kid with such an upbeat attitude and he fights with might, which has been his motto. He had an absolute blast today, and it helps us all keep our minds off the daily doctors and trials.”
“It takes a lot of the stress off a typical day for him,” mom Lisa Cech said. “This is something fun where he can just go out and be a kid.”
“It was awesome to see this happen,” Murphy said.
“It went great,” Cutting said. “It was probably the highlight of my 35 years in service.”
Along with giving Matthew a chance to be a kid, events like this also allow the family to continue to shed light on Mitochondrial Disease, an inherited genetic condition that affects the parts of the body that need the most energy, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs.
“When he first became sick in 2006, we had never heard of this,” Terry Cech said. “It is something that we can do not only to help us but organizations that are working for a cure by putting a face locally to what they are trying to do.”
“This is a disease that takes the lives of more children then all of the childhood cancers combined,” Lisa Cech said. “We had the Mighty Matthew events, which is the superhero that he likes to be, and it has helped raise awareness and funds to help find a cure.”
For more information on Mighty Matthew and the battle against Mitochondrial Disease, visit the website mightymatthew.blogspot.com.