The Target Corporation is known for its community involvement, regularly donating a variety of items to local fire departments, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.
But earlier this summer, state police say, some items intended for donation to charitable organizations were instead stolen by at least two employees at the Target Store distribution warehouse on North Road.
Three men have already been arrested on felony grand larceny charges in an ongoing investigation into thefts from the sprawling distribution center near Northway Exit 16, according to Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III.
Those arrested on Aug. 5 were: Jon M. Mann, 45, of Corinth; Robert J. Wood, 41, of Fort Edward, and Martin E. Bedell, 39, of Corinth. Police would not say which two of the three men are Target warehouse employees or former employees.
Mann and Wood pleaded not guilty to the charges of third-degree grand larceny, a felony, this week in Wilton Town Court. Bedell’s arraignment has been postponed but will take place soon, according to Wilton Town Court personnel. Mann and Wood, who were released into their own custody, are scheduled to return to town court Sept. 16. A return date for Bedell has not yet been set.
In felony cases, the charges are generally referred to a Saratoga County grand jury for its consideration.
“We want people to understand that Target is a good corporate citizen,” Murphy said.
“They provide merchandise to volunteer fire companies,” Murphy said, as an example of the company’s national community involvement programs.
Murphy said two employees would load up a tractor-trailer with items intended for volunteer fire companies and charitable organizations. The items included bedding, towels and electronics, Murphy said. The value of the merchandise allegedly stolen was more than $3,000.
Instead of delivering the items to their intended destination, the men allegedly split the items up among themselves and their friends.
“They were depriving people who really needed it,” Murphy said. “It’s a very serious case.”
Murphy said the state police are continuing the investigation and others may be charged with such crimes as criminal possession of stolen merchandise.
The arrests of the three men came after someone tipped off the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Wilton, Murphy said.
Chief Robert Brown of the Wilton Volunteer Fire Department said the Target distribution center has been an “excellent” corporate neighbor.
“We work with them a lot,” Brown said.
He said Target employees hold car washes for the fire department on Ballard Road and are involved in the volunteer fire department’s annual Easter egg hunt.
Brown said Target provides the fire company with a variety of food and beverage items that the fire company, in turn, gives to local food pantries and soup kitchens. He said some of the items donated are getting close to their expiration date or one or two containers in a pallet of items has been damaged but the rest of the items are all good.