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Gouverneur woman accused of stealing nearly $38,000 from bottle return center

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GOUVERNEUR — A Gouverneur woman is accused of stealing nearly $38,000 from a bottle redemption center where she worked last year.

State police on March 6 charged Sylvia L. Taylor, 26, of 1 Mill St., with third-degree grand larceny.

Troopers allege that between August and December, Ms. Taylor stole approximately $37,677.72 from Griff’s Redemption Center on Route 11 in the town where she worked.

According to court documents, Griff’s owner Russell D. Pope told state police that in the beginning of September he noticed the inventory of cans had doubled from the same time in the previous year. However, Mr. Pope said if that were the case he would have needed larger shipping containers for transporting the cans to his Carthage store.

He said that was when he noticed something was out of order.

“The registry tape, dated on Dec. 10, 2013 at approximately 5:01 p.m. to 5:34 p.m., accounted for approximately $7,000 cans,” Mr. Pope told state police. “Meaning that someone had reported 7,000 cans were brought into the facility and exchanged for money in the amount of approximately $420.”

Mr. Pope alleged that Ms. Taylor was the only employee working the register at that time and that he has had previous discrepancies with her. After Mr. Pope confronted Ms. Taylor and all of his other employees two days following the discrepancy, telling them he was going to have the matter investigated by state police, Ms. Taylor allegedly told him she wasn’t feeling well, left work and never returned.

“I have compared receipts day by day and I have accounted for a discrepancy of approximately 627,962 cans that are missing valued at approximately $37, 677.72 since the last week in August 2013,” Mr. Pope said.

In her statement to troopers, Ms. Taylor said it was a crack and heroin habit that led her to take the money. She said she would write up fake slips for nonexistent bottle returns and then pocket the money.

“At first I would steal approximately $100 a day, a few times a week,” Ms. Taylor told troopers. “After a few weeks of not getting caught, I got brave and would steal approximately $300 a day, every day I worked.”

Ms. Taylor said she stole as much as $500 in one day and didn’t realize how much she had taken until she started adding it up.

“I had a major drug problem and was buying heroin and crack every day,” Ms. Taylor said. “I assumed it was thousands of dollars but now that I am thinking about it, I am estimating $20,000.”

Ms. Taylor was arraigned in Fowler Town Court and sent to St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, where she is being held on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 secure bond.

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