PLAINVILLE - A New Britain man who stole more than $35,000 worth of merchandise when he worked at a Plainville department store is expected to be sentenced to four years in prison.
Paul LaRochelle, 41, had been expected to receive the sentence during a hearing on Wednesday in Bristol Superior Court, but his attorney, Elisa Villa, said she was told her client was in the hospital and could not make the hearing. She did not elaborate further.
Judge John Cronan postponed the sentencing and rescheduled it for today.
At a hearing in January, LaRochelle accepted a plea bargain that included serving four years in prison. During that hearing, LaRochelle pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree larceny.
LaRochelle had been offered another plea bargain that would have sent him to prison for two years, but he would have been required to pay restitution to Kohl’s - where he had worked - while on probation. The deal he accepted does not include any restitution or probation.
According to police, officers were called in June to Kohl’s, at 200 New Britain Ave., on the report of an employee stealing from the store.
LaRochelle, police said, was seen on video surveillance taking items from the store and hiding them outside until his shift was over, when he drove to the loading dock area and tried to recover the merchandise. Security officers from the store contacted police after seeing this.
Police said LaRochelle admitted to stealing items from the store for several months and pawning them.
It was later determined that Kohl’s was out about $34,000 worth of merchandise. LaRochelle no longer works for the retailer.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.