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Sun., Aug. 30
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena man jailed without bail on rape, criminal sexual act charges


MASSENA - An investigation into a break-in at Massena Metals Tuesday evening provided village police with information that led to the arrest of a 53-year-old Massena man on rape and criminal sexual act charges.

Village police charged Robert L. Pitts Jr. of 492 South Main St., Apt. 2, with second-degree rape and second-degree criminal sexual act. He allegedly had been having a sexual relationship with a now 14-year-old female over the past two years.

Police said during the course of their investigation into the Massena Metals break in, which started as a noise complaint at 7:37 p.m. Tuesday, they recovered a cell phone that provided information about the inappropriate relationship.

Police said Pitts was additionally charged with third-degree criminal trespass and petit larceny for the Massena Metals incident. Massena Village Police Sgt. Adam J. Love said police located items taken from Massena Metals next to the nearby railroad tracks, and Pitts had apparently dropped his cell phone with items that had been taken from the metal yard.

Pitts was arraigned early this morning by Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility on the felony sex charges. The village justice told Pitts he couldn’t set bail because the Massena man has two prior felony convictions.

He had been sentenced to one to three years in state prison in November 2003 for a third-degree burglary conviction and did a two to four year bid in a state correctional facility following a June 1983 grand larceny conviction.

The petit larceny and criminal trespass charges allege Pitts stole 117 pounds of aluminum bars, valued at 90 cents per pound, from Massena Metals. He was breaking down the aluminum bars in a wooded area near the railroad tracks when a worker in the railyard reported to the police that he was hearing loud noises.

Pitts, in his statement to police, said he had been walking on the South Raquette Road and noticed a pile of aluminum bars as he was crossing in front of Massena Metals.

He reportedly walked into a fenced in area at the metal yard and filled two backpacks with aluminum bars. He said he then went across the road into a wooded area.

“I started breaking down the aluminum arms by hitting them against rocks. I had a hack saw with me and other tools but didn’t use them breaking the aluminum bars down,” he said in his statement to police.

Pitts said he fled the area when he saw a flashight beam headed in his direction. He said he ran down the railroad tracks toward South Main Street. “I then walked the rest of the way home knowing the police couldn’t catch up to me since they were still on the other side of the tracks,” he noted in his statement.

Police said their review of the cell phone recovered with the other items that had been left in the wooded area prompted the investigation that resulted in Pitts’ arrest on rape and criminal sexual act charges.

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