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Potsdam man’s promise results in grand larceny charge

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POTSDAM — A graduation promise to his son turned a Potsdam man into something he said he is not.

Russell P. Snyder Jr., 50, of 131 Bagdad Road, was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny Thursday for the alleged theft of $1,838 from the offices of Pinto Mucenski & Watson, a certified public accounting firm at 42 Market St. in the village.

In an interview between Potsdam Police Lt. Mark R. Murray and Mr. Snyder, a picture is painted of a man making a choice he would regret in a desperate attempt to keep a promise he made to his son.

It was approximately 10 p.m. on July 10 and Mr. Snyder was working an evening custodial shift at the accounting office.

While cleaning the office of John A. Saucier, Mr. Snyder came across several envelopes filled with cash, according to court documents.

Mr. Snyder said he was struggling financially and when he saw the money lying there he thought it would solve all of his problems.

“I was like, ‘OK, that would take care of most everything that I have to take care of,’” Mr. Snyder said in his interview. “Then I was like, ‘ohh, you’re dumb’ – because I haven’t, ya know, I’m not a thief, I’m really not a thief.”

Court documentation indicated Mr. Snyder said he had all the cash out and then forgot which amount went into each envelope.

“Snyder was too far into it to try to put the money back,” Lt. Murray stated in his affidavit. “Snyder stated he thought and thought about what to do because he couldn’t put the cash back.”

Mr. Snyder pulled all the desk drawers out and opened the window in an attempt to stage the crime scene to appear as a burglary, the affidavit stated. “Is this a mistake you made and you want to make good?” Lt. Murray asked Mr. Snyder in the documented interview.

“Yeah ... yeah,” Mr. Snyder said. “I’m not a thief but I promised my son that I would have a car for him if he graduated … I haven’t gotten the money to get him a permit, I’m doing everything I can to stay afloat.”

Police escorted Mr. Snyder to his residence where he turned the alleged stolen cash over to the police in a large cellophane bag, which was stored in his garage in a metal tool chest.

Mr. Snyder was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in Village Court.

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