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Massena cousins charged with stealing cans, bottles

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MASSENA - A Massena teen was jailed after being charged with two burglary counts Thursday.

Village police charged Samuel O. Hurlbut, 18, of 5 South St., Massena, with third-degree burglary and petit larceny stemming from an incident that occurred at approximately 2 a.m. Oct. 27 at 52 Maple St.

Anthony D. Wheeler and Hurlbut were charged with stealing four grounding rods and approximately 150 feet of copper wire from a Maple Street garage. The copper, owned by Gerald Johnson, was valued at $141.

Hurlbut was arraigned by Acting Massena Village Justice James M. Crandall and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $500 cash or $1,000 bond. He later posted that bail.

Wheeler had been charged with third-degree burglary and petit larceny late last fall, but prosecutors made a motion reducing the felony third-degree burglary charge to a misdemeanor count of second-degree criminal trespass. Wheeler then pleaded guilty to the petit larceny count in a plea bargain agreement that satisfied the criminal trespass charge.

Village police turned Hurlbut over to state police, and he was charged with a second count of third-degree burglary stemming from his role in a Feb. 1 burglary at a barn at 703 County Route 39, Louisville. Hurlbut and a co-defendant allegedly stole bags of recyclable cans and bottles that had an estimated value of $200.

He was arraigned by Judge Crandall on the second burglary count and had bail set at an additional $500 cash or $1,000 bond.

His co-defendant, David J. Hurlbut, 20, of 2 Willow St., Massena, was charged with third-degree burglary and petit larceny on Friday for his role in the incident. He was arraigned by Judge Crandall and released under the supervision of the probation department.

Sam Hurlbut, in a statement he signed for police, said he and his cousin been driving around in the early morning hours of Feb. 1 when his mother’s car stalled on the road near the barn owned by Shawn M. Abrantes.

Hurlbut said he was unable to get the vehicle to start back up.

“I thought maybe it ran out of gas. We thought maybe there would be a gas can in the barn so David and I both decided to try to get into the barn to see if we could find some gas. We didn’t find any gas cans, but we did find a pile of empty bottles and cans kept in plastic bags,” he noted in his statement.

Hurlbut said the two men initially decided they would take the bottles and cans, redeem the beverage containers for their refunds and use that money to buy gas. But he said when they went back to the vehicle and it still wouldn’t start they realized their thought process was flawed.

“It was then David and I realized that we would have to walk quite an unreasonable distance to redeem the bags of bottles and cans for money. We then realized it was stupid to have taken them. We left the cans next to the car,” he said, noting the two men then started walking toward his co-defendant’s mother’s ex-boyfriend’s house to seek assistance.

“I think some of the cans and bottles may have fallen out and left a trail from the barn to the car,” he added.

He said a local garage was called to tow the vehicle to the shop later in the morning.

Abrantes told police seven to eight bags of bottles were missing from his barn, and other witnesses provided troopers with statements saying they had seen two men throwing something off the side of the road by the bridge that morning. Cans and bottles were later found in that area, troopers said.

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