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Potsdam-area duo charged with stealing $1,068 cash from Massena woman’s purse

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MASSENA - Two Potsdam-area residents were charged with stealing over $1,000 from an acquaintance at a social gathering at 49 1/2 Maple St. early Tuesday morning.

Village police charged Christopher J. Konsul IV, 30, of 7183 state Route 56, Potsdam, and Michelle L. Bell, 34, of 150 Market St., Potsdam, both formerly of Massena, with a felony count of fourth-degree grand larceny. Konsul was additionally charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and five counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Police said the duo were taken into custody at 4:16 a.m. Tuesday at the Sunoco station on East Orvis Street when police responded to a complaint of people arguing.

Konsul was arraigned by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond. Bell was also arraigned by Judge Sharlow, and she was released under the supervision of the probation department.

Bell and Konsul were reportedly at the 49 1/2 Maple St., Lot 34, trailer of Robert and Audrey Rushlow for a social gathering with a number of other people including Carrie Gambaccini, Joe Olmstead and Crystal Durocher. An ambulance was called at some point early Tuesday morning after Ms. Durocher believed she had broken her hand.

Bell and Konsul were reportedly sleeping in the Rushlow’s son’s bedroom at approximately 3:30 a.m. when Ms. Rushlow entered the room and asked Bell to put Ms. Durocher’s purse in her son’s closet while she was being treated at the hospital.

“Chris saw me put the purse in there and soon after decided to look inside the purse. Chris then pulled out a wad of money along with two Baggies - one filled with white powder and the other bag had several pills in it. Chris then put these items down his pants and said that we were leaving, and he called a cab,” Bell noted in the statement she reportedly signed for police.

Konsul, in his statement, told police Bell had been given the purse and had placed it at the bottom of the bed. He said he fell back to sleep and when he woke up Bell told him she was ready to leave. “She gave me a stack of money to hold. I knew it was Crystal Durocher’s money,” he said, noting they had then called for a taxi to get a ride back to Potsdam.

Ms. Durocher, 42, of 20 Boynton St., Massena, in her statement to police, said she had approximately $1,200 in her purse, including several $100 and $50 bills. She told police Bell and Konsul had indicated they didn’t have any money during the course of the evening.

Bell, in her statement, said the Massena Transport stopped at the Sunoco station to get gasoline before heading to Potsdam. “Bobby showed up with Crystal and Joe and started arguing with Chris, accusing him of stealing their money. Shortly after, the police arrived,” she noted.

The money and two Baggies were reportedly found in he area where Konsul had been sitting. Court documents indicate police seized 6 grams of cocaine, eight Lorazapam 5mg pills, 15 Clonazepam 1 mg pills, one Clonezepam .5 mg pill, 13 Alprazolam .5 mg pills and one Alprazolam 1 mg pill.

Lorazapam and Alprazolam are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, according to Web sources, and Clonezepam is a muscle relaxant.

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