AUBURN — A former groundskeeper at Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency has admitted to stealing more than $5,000 worth of tools and equipment from the non-profit to pay off a personal drug debt.
Ryan Goyette, 25, was arrested July 6 in connection with a theft that occurred at the agency last winter.
According to the Auburn Police Department, officers received a complaint about some stolen items in April. Soon after, a warrant was issued for Goyette's arrest.
On Thursday, Goyette pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony. During his plea, he told Judge Mark Fandrich that he stole two snowblowers from CSCAA on Jan. 9.
"I stole from my employer to support a drug habit," he said.
Goyette had been hired as the agency's groundskeeper in December. Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said Goyette entered the agency in the middle of the night to steal $5,100 worth of equipment, which he then pawned in Syracuse.
Goyette could face a maximum of 1 1/3 to four years in prison for the crime. However, Fandrich agreed to sentence him to 30 days in Cayuga County Jail plus five years probation. In addition, Goyette will have to pay restitution and successfully complete drug treatment court.
Goyette was released on his own recognizance. He said he will reside with his father in Cato pending sentencing Jan. 2.
Also in court:
• A sex offender was sentenced to prison Thursday for selling cocaine in Cayuga County.
Richard Hartfield, of 6 Holley St. Apt. 3, Auburn, was arrested in May and charged with 14 felonies, including several counts of possessing and selling narcotics. However, later that month, the 43-year-old pleaded guilty to two reduced felonies: fifth-degree criminal sale and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
A registered sex offender, Hartfield was previously convicted of third-degree rape, second-degree sodomy and second-degree assault in 2004 in Cortland County. He could have faced life in prison as a persistent felony offender, but Judge Fandrich upheld an agreed-upon sentence Thursday of 2 1/2 years in prison followed by two years post-release supervision.
In addition, Hartfield forfeited his 2003 Mercedes. He also agreed to pay $280 in restitution.
• An Albany woman has admitted to promoting prison contraband at Cayuga Correctional Facility.
Ginger Wood, 27, of 113 Central Ave. Apt. 2W, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of first-degree promoting prison contraband, a class D felony. During her plea, she told the court how she brought 70 grams of synthetic marijuana to the medium-security prison back in April.
"I brought four balloons of K2 in my bra," she said, crying. "I was going to give it to an inmate."
Wood could face up to seven years in prison. However, in exchange for her plea of guilty, Judge Fandrich agreed to sentence her to one to three years in prison with a shock camp order.
Wood was released on bail and allowed to return to Albany County. She was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 2.