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Massena man with long criminal history sentenced to year in county jail


MASSENA - A 62-year-old Massena man with a criminal history dating back more than four decades has been sentenced to serve a year in the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson sentenced Robert W. Northrup of 110 Woodlawn Ave. to serve 365 days in the county jail for a petit larceny conviction. The $205 surcharge was reduced to a civil judgment.

Mr. Gustafson said Northrup owed a debt of gratitude to St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Allison Appleby.

“Ms. Appleby managed to get a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor and have that satisfy two other misdemeanor files. That is pretty impressive work for a client with a criminal history like yours. You ought to thank her a lot,” he told Northrup.

He had been charged with fourth-degree grand larceny in early March following an investigation into a complaint made by Easy Home of Potsdam. Northrup had been charged after he refused to return more than $1,000 worth of merchandise to Easy Home employees.

Northrup reportedly rented a 55-inch LG LED television, a 32gb Apple Ipad and an Acer Iconia tablet from Easy Home in December.

Store manager Danielle Price said she went to Northrup’s residence on Dec. 31, and he told her he had sold the items, valued at $1,496.52, but that he would retrieve the merchandise. He reportedly gave her $240 toward his bill.

Ms. Price told police she went back to Northrup’s home on Jan. 13. “... he told me that he had a pill problem and that he was working on getting the merchandise back from where he sold it. I haven’t heard from Robert since Jan. 13,” she noted in her statement.

According to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website, Northrup has been in and out of prison since 1995.

He was sentenced to prison in 2004 for a second-degree attempted robbery conviction, in 2003 for a third-degree grand larceny conviction and in 1999 and in 1995 for first-degree scheme to defraud convictions.

Ms. Appleby made an unsuccessful request to have her client released from jail before he started serving his jail sentence.

“My client is asking for a brief respite from jail. He would like to be released to get his affairs before he begins his one-year sentence,” she noted.

“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” Northrup added. “It got out of hand. I’m not a danger to the community.”

But Mr. Gustafson noted he wasn’t inclined to release Northrup from jail. “You are not a threat, but you are not really deserving a break,” he said.

“Looking at your criminal history, I see your first arrest was in the year I was born. It has gone ever since. I’m not swayed by your request for mercy considering the last 45 years,” the village justice added.

Northrup’s son, Christopher A., 37, of 587 South Main St., Massena, was transported by sheriff’s deputies to the Massena court with his father. He was scheduled to be sentenced for a criminal contempt conviction, but his sentencing was adjourned.

A plea bargain agreement had called for the younger Northrup to be sentenced to six months in the county jail, but defense attorney Mark Snider had urged the court to consider changing the term to weekends so Christopher could continue working and paying child support.

Northrup’s daughter, Jamie L. Northrup, 35, of 110 Woodlawn Ave., Massena, was sentenced to weekends in jail in April after she pleaded guilty to petit larceny in a plea bargain agreement that also satisfied an unlawfully dealing with a child count.

Village police had charged Ms. Northrup and Brande L. Snyder of 102 Woodlawn Ave., Massena, with petit larceny after a loss prevention associate reportedly saw the duo place several items in a purse and in a Walmart bag they already had in their cart during the afternoon of June 8, 2011.

She allegedly took $77.88 worth of merchandise, including a dress, a swim top and two shirts. Snyder reportedly had three T-shirts and two pairs of shorts.

“It’s not often I see an entire family I see an active family that I have had the displeasure of sentencing to a period of incarceration within the past several months. That says volumes,” Mr. Gustafson said.

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