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Kellison Released From Custody

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A Massena man charged with breaking into a locked office at the Valhaven Home for Adults and stealing a money box reportedly containing $450 - a crime he blamed on his addiction to prescription pills - has been released from custody after spending approximately 24 hours at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility.

Massena Village Police had charged Derek J. Kellison, 19, of 10 South St., Massena, with third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and petit larceny late Sunday night following an investigation into the break-in that reportedly took place Friday evening.

Police said Kellison used his shoulder to open the locked office door at his former employer at 9 p.m. Friday and then removed a metal money box, reportedly containing $450 in cash, and a set of keys from the office.

He reportedly caused $258.40 in damages to the door and door jamb when he broke into the office.

Kellison had been remanded Monday to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility, Canton, with bail set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

The Massena teenager was back in court Tuesday for arraignment with his attorney, St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Alison B. Appleby. He entered a not guilty plea and was released under the custody of the St. Lawrence County Probation Department with a stipulation he be evaluated for alcohol and substance abuse issues.

The probation department had recommended Kellison be released from custody.

Kellison had told police his mother had dropped him off on Center Street at approximately 8:45 p.m. Friday after he had been turned down for a bed for the second time in the last few weeks at the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Detoxification Unit. He told police he was addicted to the prescription drug, Oxycontin, a brand name for an Oxycodone medication.

He said after entering the office and stealing the metal cash box and keys he ran to the footbridge, opened the box, took out the cash - which he said "was like two $5 bills and the rest was in $1 bills," and then threw the cash box and keys over the footbridge railing.

"I then went and bought 2 1/2 Oxycontins from an unknown person. I spent the money all on the Oxycontins. I have severe withdrawal symptoms from my drug use and this is why I did this. I couldn't go another night sick with withdrawal, and detox couldn't get me in," Kellison told police.

"I didn't think about doing it. It just got to me. I had no other choice because I am sick. Do I regret doing it, yes. Do I like being sick, no. I am sorry for doing this. It is not my style. I have always worked for my money, but lately it has been tough as I am not working ...," he added in his statement to police.

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