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Norfolk man jailed on $20K bail for breaking into, staying at former residence

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NORFOLK - A Norfolk man reportedly kept the key from a residence he had previously lived in and moved back into the home without the owner’s permission.

Massena-based state police charged Matthew J. McGrath, 29, of 904 County Route 38, Norfolk, with second-degree burglary and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle Saturday. He was arraigned by Massena Town Justice James M. Crandall and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $20,000 cash or $40,000 bond.

McGrath and Brett Mason were reportedly living at 6 North Main St., Norfolk, without the permission of the property’s owners, Chris and Robin Baxter. Court documents indicated that the Baxters found a space heater and television in a back room when they investigated reports that someone was staying in the vacant house. McGrath reportedly retained a key he had to the property when he had stayed at that residence in the past.

McGrath had listed a 6 North Main St. address in April 2011 when he was charged with fifth-degree conspiracy, third-degree burglary, petit larceny, false personation, resisting arrest after he allegedly stole money from the office area at the Super 8 motel, Grove Street, Massena. He was later charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief after he scratched his name in the wooden bench in the holding room in the village police station on the burglary charges.

Prosecutors later reduced the felony burglary charge to a misdemeanor count of third-degree criminal trespass and returned the case to Massena Village Court.

His roommate at the time, Chad C. Wickwire, an employee at Super 8 at the time of the burglary, was charged with fifth-degree conspiracy and petit larceny.

McGrath was charged with stealing $291 from Super 8 at 12:53 a.m. April 25, 2011.

Billy Goodreau, in a statement he provided police, said Mr. McGrath had visited him at his mother’s house at approximately 11 p.m. April 24, 2011 and asked to borrow his cell phone. He said Mr. McGrath returned the cell phone approximately three and a half hours later.

“He told me what he had just done. At that time, Matt took out a large amount of cash, consisting of $20s, $10s, $5s, $1s and some change rolls,” Mr. Goodreau told police.

He said Mr. McGrath admitted he had stolen the money from the Super 8 and told him he took the money after having his roommate leave the office to conduct his nightly rounds.

“While he was away, Matt told me ran into the motel, jumped over the counter and took all the money behind the counter. He said he was in and out of there in seconds,” Mr. Goodreau added.

He noted the trio had discussed stealing money from Super 8 approximately three weeks before the incident. “I thought it was more of a joke than anything. I wasn’t actually serious about it and would have never done it,” he said.

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