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Ogdensburg man jailed without bail after second forgery arrest

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CANTON — The Ogdensburg man accused of stealing more than $17,000 in forged checks from a priest is behind bars after he was arrested for another alleged forgery.

Jesse G. Austin, 34, of 212 Montgomery St., returned to St. Lawrence County Court on Monday after he was picked up on a warrant following his arrest by Ogdensburg police for allegedly being part of a prescription drug forgery Sept. 16, a violation of the probation terms under which he was released by County Judge Jerome J. Richards on July 29.

Mr. Austin pleaded not guilty July 29 to charges of third-degree grand larceny and nine counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, all class D felonies, for allegedly stealing and cashing $17,460 in nine separate checks on nine separate dates from Dec. 21 to April 1 from the Community Bank N.A. account of the Rev. Edward E. Papp.

He was released under probation supervision and has been brought before Judge Richards twice on bench warrants for allegedly violating the terms of that release. On Aug. 19, he was in County Court for not reporting to probation as instructed and not giving a phone number where he could be reached, and on Monday, he was in court again in connection with his recent arrest on a forgery charge with Melissa L. McLear, 31, of 623 State St., Ogdensburg.

Mr. Austin is facing charges of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a class A misdemeanor, after Dr. James Edmond, Clifton Park, discovered that prescriptions that he hadn’t endorsed had been stolen from his office, forged and then filled for Ritalin and Suboxone at pharmacies in Ogdensburg. He called police and an investigation began Sept. 11.

Ms. McLear is a patient of Dr. Edmond’s.

Detective Sgt. Robert H. Wescott said it was “speculation” that Mr. Austin and Ms. McLear used the drugs.

Monday, Judge Richards sent Mr. Austin to St. Lawrence County jail without bail. He is scheduled to reappear at a later date.

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