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Handyman charged after allegedly stealing from homes where he was working

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MASSENA — A Massena handyman is facing a number of charges after allegedly stealing money, checks, a debit card and a “Twilight” DVD from homes where he was working.

Michael K. Kocsis, 48, of 147 E. East Orvis St., was arrested Sunday by village police and charged with one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and six counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Two residents gave statements to police detailing what was stolen from them.

Koren Smith, said cash, two checks and a “Twilight” DVD were stolen from her East Orvis Street apartment on Dec. 27, 2011. Mr. Kocsis had been doing repairs at her home, she said.

The two checks were cashed at Seacomm in Massena for $135 and $190, she said, adding that she did not sign them.

Dong G. Hoang is another East Orvis Street resident who had hired Mr. Kocsis to work inside his home. He reported a burglary on Nov. 21, 2011, stating that his wife’s purse containing about $2,000 in cash was stolen. He also said his debit card was taken and used at Sears in the St. Lawrence Centre mall without his authorization.

Mr. Hoang told police that, when confronted, Mr. Kocsis admitted taking the purse, debit card and a key to Mr. Hoang’s house due to a drug problem.

Mr. Hoang said he was missing several checks, which had been cashed for nearly $4,000 without his permission.

Following his arraignment before Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson on Tuesday, Mr. Kocsis was sent to the St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, where he is being held without bail. He pleaded guilty to similar charges brought against him in 1997, and a jury convicted him on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument last year for forging a check of a deceased man.

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