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Police: suspects in forgery case stole $11K, sports drinks

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POTSDAM — Police have charged three men in connection with the alleged theft of more than $11,000 through the use of forged checks from a Potsdam business.

And two sports drinks.

Joseph A. Rousaw, 39, Massena; Andrew K. Garrow, 27, Norwood; and St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility inmate Shawn L. McGregor, 36, formerly of Norfolk, were arrested Monday following an investigation by Potsdam Police and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

According to court documents, the trio entered the back door of Back Streets bar, 31 Market St., on June 18 and stole payroll checks as well as two Powerade drinks valued at $4.

Armed with the checks belonging to two businesses, they allegedly went on to steal much more, cashing the stolen documents at banks throughout St. Lawrence County for a five-figure haul.

Owner Steven J. Bond reported as stolen 10 checks belonging to Steven Bond Properties and five belonging to Back Streets. Investigators said the Steven Bond checks were forged and cashed for a total of $8,714, while the Back Streets checks were forged and cashed for $2,288.98.

Bank records subpoenaed as part of the investigation suggest that the suspects worked quickly.

The five Back Streets checks were cashed on June 18, 19, 20 and 22, records show.

On June 21, four Steven Bond checks made out to Rousaw totalling $3,494 were cashed at Community Bank branches in Potsdam, Massena and two Ogdensburg locations between 10:51 a.m. and 2:49 p.m., each with a memo note reading “labor,” bank records showed.

The following day, six Steven Bond checks made out to Rousaw for labor and materials were cashed for a total of $5,220 between 11:46 a.m. and 3:01 p.m. at branches in Madrid, Potsdam, Heuvelton, Canton and Massena.

The largest single amount among the alleged forgeries, a $1,275 Back Streets check made out to Mr. Rousaw and cashed on June 19, was the subject of a forgery claim reported to NBT bank by Mr. Bond.

In a notarized affidavit provided to the bank on June 25, Mr. Bond said he did not know who forged the check, but wrote that “Shawn McGregor is on camera taking checks.”

Mr. Bond said on Tuesday he had previously employed McGregor to do odd jobs around his properties, but he did not know the other men.

According to the newspaper archives, McGregor was previously arrested in connection with three other bad check cases in October, November and December. Those arrests constituted an alleged parole violations in the wake of a 2007 burglary conviction.

Each of the suspects in the Back Streets case was charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree burglary.

Rousaw was remanded to the county jail without bail, and Garrow was released under the supervision of the probation department.

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