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Nicholville man charged with selling stepfather’s tractor

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NICHOLVILLE - A 26-year-old Nicholville man was charged Thursday with selling his stepfather’s Kubota tractor to a Vermont man while his parents were in Florida.

Massena-based state police charged Mikle N. Lavare of 13 1/2 Bridge St. with a felony charge of third-degree grand larceny and a misdemeanor count of making a false written statement. He allegedly signed a statement for troopers on Dec. 26 suggesting his stepfather’s Kubota tractor had been stolen from 426 Water St. in the town of Lawrence. Troopers said Lavare later admitted he had sold the tractor owned by Tommy Votra to a Vermont man for $3,500 on Dec. 5.

He was arraigned by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow and released under the supervision of the probation department on the recommendation of St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary E. Rain. Lavare had been released from the county jail and placed under probation supervision last week following his arrest on other felony charges.

Lavare was charged with four felonies following a traffic stop Dec. 31 in the village of Massena.

He was charged with two counts of first-degree tampering with public records and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

It is alleged that earlier in the day Lavare removed the inspection and registration stickers from a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup, placing them on a 2005 Nissan Titan pickup to hide the fact the truck was neither inspected or registered.

Lavare was additionally ticketed for operation of an uninspected motor vehicle and unregistered motor vehicle, improper plates, operating without insurance and displaying a forged certificate of inspection.

He had initially been sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond on those charges but later was released from custody and placed under probation supervision.

Lavare, in a statement he signed for state police, said he had spoken with Bernard (David) Deragon at Lamphiere’s gas station on Route 11B on Dec. 14, and Mr. Deragon told him he was going to borrow something from his parent’s residence. “About two or three days later, I was driving by the house and could see that the tractor was gone. I assumed that David had borrowed the tractor,” he said in his statement.

The Nicholville man said he spoke on the phone with his mother, Rebecca Votra, on Dec. 17, and she asked him to go over to their house and clean the driveway because they were coming home. “I told my mom that David had borrowed the tractor and not brought it back yet. My parents then contacted David and found that he did not take the tractor. I told my parents that I would go check with the neighbors, and they told me not to. My parents said they would take care of it when they get home from their trip,” he added in his Dec. 26 statement to troopers.

Lavare, in a second statement provided to state police investigators on Thursday, admitted he had stolen his stepfather’s tractor. He said he needed money to pay for a medical procedure for his girlfriend.

“I didn’t have the money so I started to advertise some of my things for sale online on Craig’s list. I tried to sell my four wheeler, my boat, my tractor and my Nissan truck I had listed on Ebay and nothing would sell. I knew it was because of the time of the year and started thinking of items that were relevant to the time of year,” he said in his statement.

Lavare said he then decided to advertise his stepfather’s tractor, still hoping his items would sell first. He said a Vermont man emailed him about the Kubota, and they later spoke on the telephone to set up a time to meet. The Nicholville man said he didn’t recall the Vermont man’s name or have any information on him.

Lavare said he borrowed a friend’s trailer, loaded the tractor on the trailer and headed to Vermont to meet the man interested in purchasing the tractor, He said his trip was cut short when a tire on the trailer blew near Ellenburg, and he pulled into a closed gas station. “I called the man from Vermont and told him the tire had blown, and he could either turn around or travel the extra distance to meet me. He said he would continue to Ellenburg and meet me. The man later showed up, liked the Kubota tractor and we agreed on $3,500 as the sale price,” he recalled in his latest statement to police.

“I’m not sure exactly when, but I finally told my parents what I had done. I explained the situation to them. I can’t say they agreed but they understood why I did it. We then made arrangements for replacing my stepfather’s Kubota tractor,” he added.

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