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Kocsis returns to jail following appearance on forged instrument counts

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MASSENA - A Massena handyman charged with stealing cash and checks from homes where he was working was returned to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility following a brief appearance this week in Massena Village Court.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson set bail at $100 on two different sets of charges pending against Michael K. Kocsis, 48, of 147 East Orvis St. and sent him back to the county jail. Defense attorney Mary Rain then waived the cases up to county court. He is also awaiting sentencing on an unrelated count in St. Lawrence County Court.

Kocsiswas charged with one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and six counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument when he was arrested by village police on March 30 following an investigation into incidents that reportedly took place over the past several months.

Koren Smith, another resident of East Orvis Street, said her home was broken into on Dec. 27, 2011 with money, two checks and a “Twilight” DVD stolen.

“Mike Kocsis has been doing repair jobs inside my apartment since November 2011, prior to me realizing I had stuff missing,” she said.

“The amount of cash taken was about $135 of Canadian and $93 in American,” she said, adding she did not notice the checks, which were eventually cashed without her permission, were missing until a couple days later.

“Two checks were cashed at Seacomm in Massena. They were made out to cash. One was for $135 and the other was made out for $190,” she said. “My name was signed to these checks, but I did not sign them. The name signed on the back of the checks was Bobbie Jo French.”

The second alleged victim, Dong G. Hoang, was another resident of East Orvis Street who had also hired Mr. Kocsis to work inside his home.

“On Nov. 21, 2011 I reported a burglary at my home to the Massena police department. I was missing my wife Rigui Lin’s purse that contained about $2,000 cash. Michael Kocsis was working in my house at the time repairing things inside,” he said in his statement to police on Oct. 24.

Mr. Hoang said his debit card was also stolen, but that wasn’t something he realized until later.

Mr. Hoang said he confronted Mr. Kocsis, who allegedly admitted that he stole the purse and debit card.

“I asked Michael Kocsis about this and Michael admitted to stealing my Seacomm debit card and Michael admitted to taking $2,000 from me a year ago and the key to my house,” Mr. Hoang said. “Michael told me he stole this money and debit card because of his drug problem. Michael Kocsis said he would pay me back.”

Mr. Hoang said he was missing 11 checks, 10 of which had been cashed without his permission.

“I now have about $3,760 that has been used from my First Niagara checkbook that I did not authorize,” he said.

In other recent county court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Jackie R. Davis, 38, of 116 Jefferson Ave., Massena, was granted a six-month adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.

Village police had initially charged Davis with a felony count of second-degree burglary and petit larceny after she reportedly entered her ex-boyfriend’s apartment June 20, 2011 and removed several items. The burglary count was later reduced to a misdemeanor count of second-degree criminal trespass.

She allegedly entered Lashawn Whitfield’s apartment, 48 Willow St., Apt. 2, Massena, and removed an air conditioner, a DVD player, a 19-inch Zenith television, a five disc CD player, clothes and other items.

Ms. Davis, in a statement she signed for police, said she went to her ex-boyfriend’s apartment to pick up what she claimed were items belonging to her and her daughter. She said she used a key Mr. Whitfield had given her during the month and a half they had lived together to enter the apartmentand said she had removed her daughter’s toys, clothing and other items. She suggested she could provide receipts to prove she was owner of the television and the air conditioner.“We were living together on Jefferson Avenue for about 1 1/2 months and then I kicked Lashawn out. I let Lashawn borrow these things for when he had the baby,” she said in the statement she reportedly signed for police.

■ Marc W. Laprade, 30, of 9851 Route 56, Lot 40, Massena, was granted a six-month adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.

Village police had charged Lapradewith petit larceny following an investigation into the theft of $470 from Laura Deshane’s purse at 254 Center St. on July 5, 2012. Laprade had reportedly told a second man that Deshane’s purse was upstairs in a Center Street and that there was money inside the purse. The second man reportedly had told Laprade earlier in the evening he was looking for pills and money.

The second man reportedly told police he initially took $50 from the purse, left to purchase drugs and then returned and took another $420. He said he exchanged that money in a second drug transaction but the dealer never provided him with the pills he had purchased with that stolen cash.

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