MASSENA - A 54-year-old Massena man charged with conspiring with his wife so he could steal more than $3,500 worth of merchandise while she was working at Walmart has entered a guilty plea after prosecutors moved to have the felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor.
Galon J. Rousaw of 77 Maple St., Apt. 2, Massena, had been charged with a felony count of third-degree grand larceny.
The St. Lawrence County District Attorneys Office filed a motion to reduce the felony count to a misdemeanor grand larceny count. Mr. Rousaw then pleaded guilty in a plea bargain agreement to petit larceny.
Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson directed the probation department to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for May 29.
Village police had charged Mr. Rousaw and his wife, Stephanie J., 52, in August 2011 after they allegedly took merchandise from Walmart without paying for it a couple of times a month over the course of a year. Ms. Rousaw was employed as a door greeter at the store.
A Walmart asset protection employee said she had observed Mr. Rousaw push a cart filled with unbagged groceries through the store, cover it with a bright pink steering wheel cover, meet up his wife in the hardware department where she handed him keys and then walk out the door.
His wife was working at the time of the incident.
Walmart officials said a review of store video showed similar events took place on July 21 and July 29. They said, after meeting up with his wife in the lawn and garden section on July 21, he walked out the store with an air conditioner and unbagged groceries.
Store officials said Ms. Rousaw had also led Mr. Rousaw, pushing a cart filled with unbagged merchandise, out of the store through the lawn and garden section on July 29.
They said on all three occasions videotaped in July Mr. Rousaw had waited in a vehicle until Ms. Rousaws shift was completed and then they left the parking lot together.
Ms. Rousaw told police she had worked as a sales associate at Walmart for approximately four years. She indicated she had encouraged her husband to steal groceries and Christmas items from the store when she was working as a store greeter.
In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:
■ Joshua Lavalley, 18, of 110 Jefferson Ave., Massena, was fined $100 and a $125 surcharge after a third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle count was reduced to a disorderly conduct violation. He was also placed under a one-year conditional discharge.
He had been charged with taking his fathers key off a key ring and then driving his vehicle around the village of Massena for approximately two hours on the morning of April 26. Jeffrey Fontaine said his son did not have permission to take the 2001 Dodge Ram.