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Tue., Oct. 6
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena man released from jail, but must enter treatment


MASSENA - A Massena man charged with robbing a liquor store has been released from jail with the understanding he will be entering a substance abuse treatment program when a bed becomes available.

Brian D. LaPrade, 24, of 52 North Main St., Massena, had been held on $10,000 cash bail at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility since his Feb. 19 arrest for third-degree robbery and petit larceny.

Acting Massena Village Justice James M. Crandall released LaPrade from jail and placed him under the supervision of the probation department with a stipulation he immediately report to the probation department to be drug tested.

“Make sure you get cleaned up. Make sure you comply with probation until we conclude this thing. What you are charged with is a very serious offense,” Mr. Crandall said.

Defense attorney Effie Kyriakopolous, in seeking LaPrade’s release from custody, had noted her client would be living with his mother as he awaited an opening in a treatment facility. She said he had custody of his child and is employed.

LaPrade, in a statement he signed for police, admitted he had robbed Alkie’s Liquor Store on North Main Street.

He noted it was something he thought about for about an hour before gathering up enough courage to follow through with his plan.

“I was sitting around my house at around 8 or 8:30 p.m. and was thinking about robbing a place for money,” he said. “I know this was a stupid idea, and I am sorry for doing this.”

LaPrade said after much internal debate he dressed in layers and went for a walk up North Main Street.

“I left my apartment and started walking up North Main Street and was going to visit my uncle who lives across the street from Alkie’s Liquor Store,” he said.

While walking to his uncle’s house, LaPrade said he changed his mind and decided to rob the liquor store.

“I walked out back of the liquor store and took the wife beater T-shirt and wrapped my face with it. I walked up to the front door of the liquor store and opened the outside door and stood there thinking if I wanted to do this,” he recalled.

“After about 30 seconds I entered the store and the worker said, ‘Hi’ to me. I said, ‘Hi,’ back to her and then told her, ‘Can I have the money in the register please?’ She asked me if I was serious, and I told her, ‘Yes Mam (sic).’”

In addition to leaving the store with either $52 or $55 - his statement varied from the store employee’s - LaPrade also asked for and was given the store’s phone.

“I ran out back of the liquor store and headed out behind the houses heading back towards my apartment,” he said, adding he got rid of the phone and shed his clothing along the way.

When leaving the liquor store, LaPrade said he called “a person he knew” to purchase some suboxone.

“I purchased one-and-a-half suboxone for $55,” he said. “This was all the money I got from the worker at the liquor store.”

In her statement to police, Vicki L. Burnett, Norfolk, who was working at the store said she gave LaPrade $52.

Ms. Burnett said she was working alone at the store and was considering closing early when the robber entered the store.

“The man had a higher sounding voice and said, ‘I’m gonna need you to give me your money,’ and then I said, ‘Are you serious?’The man then said, ‘Yes maam, I’m sorry, but I’m gonna need you to give me your money.’ I said, ‘Seriously?’ again and then I gave him the money,” she recalled.

After being given all of the money in the register, Ms. Burnett said the suspect then began walking away, before turning around and asking for the store’s phone, which she gave him.

In other recent court action before Judge Crandall:

■ Austin B. Villnave, 19, of 144 South Main St., Massena, was sent back to the county jail with his bail continued at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond. His attorney, Bradford Riendeau, who was not present in court, asked to have the case adjourned until April 23.

Villnave, who has a number of charges pending in the county, is being held by Massena Town Court on three counts of third-degree burglary and four counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

Villnave and Justin P. Love, 21, of 81 Chase St., Massena, had been charged with the burglary and criminal mischief charges following an investigation into an Aug. 3 incident at Journeyman Self Storage, 2 Haverstock Road.

Love and Villnave allegedly cut the locks off four storage units, entered three storage units and stole property from two of the units.

The duo reportedly stole tools, including a motorcycle jack and a welder, from a unit rented to Thomas J. Chapman and a 32-inch flat screen television from a unit rented to Stacy M. Rusaw. They also reportedly entered a storage unit rented by Rick Fuller and moved boxes but did not steal any items and broke two locks on a unit rented to Rebecca L. McDermott.

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