Norwood police officer charged with stealing $30,000 from Home Depot, crack pipe allegedly found in shoe
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 2:55 pm


MASSENA -- A Norwood Police Department officer has been charged with stealing nearly $30,000 from a store where he was working another job.

Christopher Ghostlaw, 42, of 1096 County Route 20, Constable was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, on May 17 at 9:44 a.m., according to Massena village police.Ghostlaw

Chris Radel, the Norwood Police Department assistant officer in charge, said Ghostlaw is suspended from his job and the village board will decide what happens with his employment.

“Obviously, he’s innocent until proven guilty,” Radel said, adding that he expects the board to discuss the matter at their next meeting.

Norwood Mayor Tim Levison said the village does not have any specific policy that would terminate Ghostlaw, even if he were convicted. For handling these types of instances, the Board of Trustees will decide what happens after the case is resolved, Levison said.

“We don’t have any type policy. It would have to be discussed with the Board of Trustees and the officer in charge,” according to the mayor. “It’s too early to make any type of prediction.”

Ghostlaw has turned in his badge and gun and will not be scheduled to work while the case is pending, but he has not been terminated or resigned from the force, the Levison said.

“He’s just not put back on the schedule to work until the legal issues are resolved. It’s way too early in the process … to make a determination,” the Norwood mayor said. “There hasn’t been a resignation, which is common.”

He declined further comment.

“We usually don’t comment on personnel issues,” Levison said.

Massena Police Chief Adam Love said Ghostlaw, while working at Home Depot, allegedly stole $29,196.32 from the store’s return register between Nov. 24, 2017 and May 14 of this year.

When he was arrested, officers allegedly found a crack pipe in his shoe with a white powder inside that tested positive for cocaine, Love said.

Ghostlaw was arraigned in Massena court by judge Patrick Serguson and released under probationary supervision, police said.

Ghostlaw is the second Norwood police officer to be arrested this year. In January, St. Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies accused another one of Norwood’s patrolmen of a crime, taking bribes. Seth D. Donalis, 32, was charged with third-degree bribe receiving, a felony, and official misconduct, a misdemeanor. The arrest stems from an investigation into conduct while a patrolman for the Norwood Police Department, deputies said at the time.

WWNY reported that Donalis was accused of receiving a sexual favor as a bribe.