Saratoga County

Pair admit to theft of safe, $35,000 from nightclub

Two Rensselaer men have admitted to last winter’s theft of a safe containing $35,000 in cash from th

Two Rensselaer men have admitted to last winter’s theft of a safe containing $35,000 in cash from the Northern Lights nightclub in Clifton Park.

Shawn R. McCarthy, 23, of Broadway, Rensselaer, and Nicoli Ninas, 22, of Harrison Avenue, Rensselaer, pleaded guilty in Saratoga County Court Friday to third-degree grand larceny.

The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department arrested the men in connection with the Feb. 19 theft of a safe containing $35,000, in a case that took some bizarre turns.

The case included the suicide of Jesse H. Lavin, 24, of Troy, an employee of Northern Lights who police had questioned in the case. Lavin was found dead in his Troy apartment two days after the theft and his death was ruled a suicide.

At the time of the arrests, an investigator said Lavin was the person who closed up Northern Lights that night after a sold-out concert Feb. 18 by the rock band Buckcherry.

Lavin knew the two suspects but denied any involvement in the burglary, police said. They said people who knew of what happened and then heard about Lavin’s death provided leads that led to the arrests and recovery of the safe in the Hudson River in Dutchess County.

The nightclub had surveillance camera footage showing two subjects entering the rear of the business after forcing open the door Feb. 19. The suspects disabled the surveillance camera once they entered the building.

The emptied safe was found in the Hudson at Poughkeepsie, and with help from the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department police learned the suspects were at that moment taking a cab ride from Kingston to a destination near Newark, N.J. Police were waiting for them when they arrived there.

Police said at the time that about $33,000 was recovered when the men were arrested. They were extradited from New Jersey in April.

McCarthy and Ninas will be sentenced by County Court Judge Jerry J. Scarano on Dec. 16. The maximum they could face is five years in state prison.

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