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Mountain man pleads guilty to mischief

QUEENSBURY The mountain man who lived in the woods near Brant Lake and stole from nearby homes pleaded guilty last week to felony criminal mischief charge for cutting down trees on private property. Alan Como, 56, is suspected of dozens of home break-ins, stealing clothing, food, tarps, tools and other necessities for survival in the Beaver Pond area of Brant Lake but police could not find enough evidence to convict him. Many stolen items that had been reported stolen were found in his makeshift home in the woods, including clothing he was wearing when police arrested him, but it was not enough to get a conviction in the burglaries.The only charges that could have stuck were misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen property. Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said that police knew that Como was the burglar, but couldnt prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. He said Como hadnt left any evidence behind in the homes he robbed. Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said that her office decided that the criminal mischief charge was the only felony that could be successfully prosecuted in court. Como disagreed, saying that most of the trees he cut were dead wood, but Judge John Hall said that one large tree is worth more than $250, the least amount Como could pay in fines. None of the burglary victims has formally requested restitution for stolen property. Como could face 1-1/3- to 4-year term in state prison when sentenced on June 13. Como is originally from eastern Massachusetts, but apparently has been living in the woods for the last 20 years, from New Hampshire, northern New York near the Canadian border and most recently in the woods near Brant Lake. He has refused to comment on why he has chosen to live in the woods.

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