In the course of 21 years, Stanley J. Ruszala has faced arrest 61 times, appearing in no ltess than five different courtrooms throughout the Mohawk Valley, according to police and court documents.
By now, when Stanley J. Ruszala gets arrested, he certainly knows the drill.
In the course of 21 years, the 47-year-old New York Mills man has faced arrest 61 times, appearing in no less than five courtrooms throughout the Mohawk Valley, according to police and court documents.
Among the cases:
* In 1990, he was accused of scheming to defraud others in a Herkimer County felony case.
* In 2002, he was accused of forging checks to steal groceries from a Utica Price Chopper. A co-defendant said the groceries were later sold on the street to obtain money for drugs, court records show.
* Just two years ago, Ruszala led state police on a 30-minute car chase on state Route 5 from Herkimer to North Utica while his ability was impaired by drugs, police said.
* Now, he faces a petit larceny charge in connection with the theft of $250 in razor blades from the Hannaford supermarket on Commercial Drive, New Hartford police said.
Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara would not comment on Ruszala’s criminal record, but said if the reported number is correct, it would be a “substantial” number of arrests, even for a repeat offender.
“People that get arrested and have a long criminal history like that, and I’m not saying that’s the case in this situation, many times they’re involved in either some kind of shoplifting scheme or they have some sort of drug addiction where they’re being arrested for possessing narcotics, or both,” McNamara said.
Court documents on record at the Oneida County Office Building show Ruszala did, in fact, have a problem with drug abuse. In 1993, he wrote from jail to a county judge, asking for his case to be handled quickly.
“I desire to go to state prison so I can start whatever program I can receive to help me with my drug problem causing my criminal behavior,” he wrote.
At the time, Ruszala was facing several charges for forging checks. His recommended sentence, as a repeat offender, was 2½ to five years in prison.
Ruszala has at least two felony convictions, but under current law, there is not much prosecutors can do to add time behind bars for Ruszala if new charges against him are less-serious misdemeanors.
Under current state law, misdemeanors are only punishable by up to one year in jail.
McNamara said he is in favor of enhanced misdemeanor penalties for repeat offenders, and would like to see a defendant’s third misdemeanor count as a felony charge instead.
Ruszala is being held in Oneida County jail on $2,000 bail. Neither he nor any family members could be reached Wednesday.
Bail documents filed by defense attorney Carl V. Graziadei in 1993 offer glimpses of a different side of Ruszala, describing him as a father and former businessman. According to the documents, he was born in Utica and had lived in Ilion continuously until that point.
More recent documents and police reports show Ruszala moving frequently, listing his address as Utica, Frankfort, Chadwicks, Herkimer, and most recently, New York Mills.