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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Norwood man charged with burglary; warrant issued for female accomplice

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POTSDAM - Village police charged Michael T. Berry, 24, of Potsdam with second-degree burglary Wednesday morning following an investigation into the the theft of a check and a container of coins from a village residence. An active arrest has been issued for an alleged female accomplice. Police said the female is currently residing in a facility downstate. Berry was arraigned in village court and released under the supervision of the probation department.

The court stipulated Berry must submit to random drug testing and continue treatment twice per week while the case is pending in village court.

Berry and his co-defendant were charged following an investigation into an alleged burglary at the Michael Caskinette apartment at 96 Market St. A blank check and a container containing $53.24 in change were reporteddly stolen from the apartment at the time of the Jan. 15 incident.

Berry, in his statement, said he was “seeing” his co-defendant at the time the incident took place. “She asked me to ride up to Potsdam with her, where she said she had a check waiting for her. She picked me up later that night,” he said.

The Norwood man, in his statement to police, said his then girlfriend parked next to 96 Market St. and went inside the apartment building while he remained in the car. “Emily was gone seven or eight minutes before coming back out. She had the check and a plastic chanmge jar,” he recalled.

Berry said he was initially suspicious about the blank check. “Emily guaranteed it was good,” he said.

The check was later written out to cash for $250, and Berry said his efforts to cash the check at several businesses in the Norwood-Norfolk area before Sharon Gushlaw, who eventually agreed to cash the check for Berry at Seacomm.

Gushlaw noted she had lent Berry $150 last summer. “We were good friends at the time. I didn’t ask him what the money was for, but I was aware that he had a drug problem. He had told me he would pay me back as soon as he got his check,” she said in the statement she signed for police.

She said Berry called her on the evening of Jan. 15 and told her he had the money to pay her back. She said she was initially hesitant when Berry asked her to cash the check because she thought it would bounce. But she said her concerns were allayed when she saw Berry attempted to cash the check at several busineses.

“... I believed the check had to be legit at this point because he had been trying to cash it using his real name,” she said, noting she took the check to Seacomm on Jan. 17 and cashed it. “He told me I could keep the extra money because it had been so long.”

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