Apartment Maintenance Man: Need for Pain Relief Drove Thefts from Apartments

The Holly Garden Apartments, 828 Holly Dr., Fulton.
The Holly Garden Apartments, 828 Holly Dr., Fulton.

The maintenance man charged with stealing prescription medicine from apartments he was supposed to be maintaining says pain from a recent accident was behind his thefts.

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Shane M. Merritt

Shane M. Merritt, 29, was charged by Fulton Police with two felony counts of burglary as well as petit larceny, criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal trespass.

He was sent to the Oswego County Correctional Facility on bail of $5,000 cash and $10,000 bond.  He is due back in Fulton City Court court Wednesday morning.

Merritt gave a written confession to police.  In it, he said that he had been addicted to pain pills up until about a year ago, when he managed to quit them.  “I am addicted to pain pills (again) because of a car accident that I got into about four weeks ago,” he said in the statement.

Merritt is the maintenance man at Holly Garden Apartments and has a set of keys that will open all the doors of the complex.  He admitted to stealing prescription pain medication from the apartments of two residents.

He said he was in the apartment of resident Gloria Abelgore to fix a leaky sink.  The first time, he said he emptied Abelgore’s bottle of prescription hydrocodone.  He said there might have been 50 pills in it.  The next time, he said he took 10 more pills.

Abelgore, who is the mother of Fulton Deputy Chief of Police Thomas Abelgore,  said in her statement to police that she was away first time the pills were taken.  She needed the pills as she recovered from shoulder surgery at the end of March.

Merritt said in his statement, “I had got some pills from Gloria just after my accident but before I went to the doctor.  My wife knows Gloria and asked if he [sic] if she had anything for pain because I got hurt in the accident.”

Merritt’s wife said in her statement that she did not know anything “about Shane going into Gloria’s apartment and stealing pills.”

But she said that her husband had been acting differently lately and that “would make me believe that he may be using drugs.”

“I am sorry for taking the pills,” Merritt wrote at the end of his statement. “But I have a problem with the pills because of the car accident.  I need help with my addiction and want help.”