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Potsdam-area woman has ID theft dismissed; case not presented to grand jury


MASSENA - A Potsdam-area woman who used a stolen credit card to purchase items at a store at a St. Lawrence Centre mall store in March 2012 had the felony charges that had been filed against her reduced to misdemeanors and sent back to local court.

Prosecutors then moved to have the charges against Courtney A. LaBar, 20, of 491 Sylvan Falls Road, Potsdam, dismissed in the interest of justice due to insufficient proof, according to a letter to Massena Town Court from St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Amanda Nissen.

The felony case would have faced dismissal at the county court level after prosecutors failed to present the case to a grand jury within six months of LaBar’s arraignment on the charges.

Massena Town Justice James M. Crandall dismissed the misdemeanor charges of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and third-degree identity theft. But he suggested LaBar should consider how she would have felt if someone stole her credit card and rang up charges on her account.

“It’s a shame action wasn’t taken in this case. The charges are being dismissed because of the way the law is written,” he said. “My message to you is fly right. These documents don’t shed any positive light on you.”

Massena-based state police charged Cory M. Shampine, 35, and Melissa M. Shampine, 27, both of 93 Maple St., Massena, with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and second-degree identity theft in March 2012. LaBar had been charged with third-degree forgery, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and second-degree identity theft as part of that same investigation.

Mr. Shampine allegedly used a stolen credit card to purchase gas and cigarettes at the Sunoco station on South Main Street on March 9, 2012 and that same day gave two stolen credit cards to LaBar and had her purchase $106.98 worth of video games at the Gamestop store at the St. Lawrence Centre mall. Ms. Shampine reportedly used the stolen credit card to purchase additional items at Gamestop valued at $160.47.

In other recent court action before Judge Crandall:

■ Charles D. Sherman Jr., 26, of 66 Woodlawn Ave., Massena, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal contempt. The court directed the probation department to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for July 17.

Village police had charged Sherman with second-degree criminal contempt and third-degree escape following an incident at 10 p.m. Dec. 16.

He reportedly violated a stay away order of protection when he spent approximately an hour banging on the doors and windows and seeking to gain access to Ebony Turner’s residence. He also reportedly made several calls to her cell phone using a racial epithet and threatening to call her employer and report she had addiction issues.

He also reportedly fled from a police officer after he had been handcuffed and taken into custody. Police were reportedly searching Sherman before placing him in the patrol vehicle when he took off running. He was taken back into custody a short time later on Bayley Road.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson had signed an order of protection in October 2010 when he sentenced Sherman for an unlawfully fleeing a police officer conviction that stemmed from a March 2, 2010 involving Sherman.

Sherman had been charged with unlawful fleeing and criminal mischief after crashing his then-girlfriend’s vehicle while he was racing to get away from police in the early morning hours of March 2, 2010. The plea bargain agreement satisfied nearly two dozen vehicle and traffic law violations.

Massena Village Police on that occasion had charged Sherman with two counts of third-degree criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, reckless driving and unlawfully fleeing from a police officer as well as 25 vehicle and traffic law infractions.

Court documents report Sherman took his girlfriend’s vehicle without her permission at approximately 12:30 a.m. March 2, 2010 from a residence at 56 Perkins Road.

Village police said Sherman fled when they attempted to make a traffic stop for numerous vehicle and traffic law violations, including operating a vehicle with no headlights, a stop sign violation, making an unsafe start and failure to signal at 2:10 a.m. March 2, 2010 on Liberty Avenue.

Police said they activated their lights and sirens, but Sherman fled the scene and traveled at speeds of up to 50 mph over the speed limit before he slammed into a snow bank on Bayley Road.

Police allege Sherman’s speeds reached 100 mph in a 35 mph zone in the westbound lane of state Route 37, 85 mph in a 30 mph zone on Bayley Road, 80 mph in a 35 mph zone on the Alcoa Bridge and in a 45 mph zone on Alcoa Road. He also reportedly hit 60 mph in 30 mph zones on Perkins and Barnhart roads.

His vehicle crashed after striking a snow bank near 36 Bayley Road. Police said Turner’s vehicle as well as a flower bed, miniature pine tree and the lawn at that Bayley Road location were damaged as a result of the one-vehicle accident.

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