QUEENSBURY -- The former proprietors of Nemo's New England Seafood & Steakhouse are in more trouble with the law, despite the fact their restaurant closed nearly two months ago.
The Granville couple who ran the restaurant were arrested Wednesday - weeks after they were accused of underpaying employees of the Route 9 eatery - on felony criminal charges that accuse them of stealing property from the building they rented.
James P. Parent, 51, and Michelle D. Parent, 49, were each charged with fourth-degree grand larceny for allegedly taking furniture and appliances from the building, according to State Police.
Among the items stolen was a commercial refrigerator, a sink, a beverage cooler, 12 bar stools and other fixtures, according to the State Police. The items were valued at more than $2,000.
Gabriel Sutton, whose family owns the property, said some of the items were recovered after he contacted the couple and asked that they be returned. But he said the police were called after the Parents stole additional items - including a sink and a cooler - when they were allowed into the building in late November to return some of the stools. Sutton said it was Thanksgiving weekend, and "I took my eye off the place for a few minutes," only to have a second round of thefts occur.
"We negotiated an amicable departure, and they ransacked the place," Sutton said. "We did everything we could to avoid this. But when they went in there and took the other items, that was really the last straw."
He said State Police had been trying to locate the Parents for weeks but found "a number of fake addresses" for them before tracking them down in Granville.
Both were released pending prosecution in Queensbury Town Court.
The criminal case comes after the Parents were cited in November by the state Department of Labor for not paying employees over the summer who dressed in a lobster costume and waved to passing motorists in an effort to drum up business.
In all, the state ordered the Parents to pay $4,645 in back wages, fees and interest to 17 workers - most of them foreign students - who filed claims that they were not paid. In an interview in August, the Parents claimed they were paying the employees properly and that the dispute was the result of a language barrier.
The restaurant opened in November 2009 and closed in the fall amid the Labor Department action and a dispute with the town over the restaurant's use of costume-clad employees stationed on Route 9 to market the eatery. The building is currently vacant.
Sutton said his family has been working with a new tenant who hopes to open a restaurant in February.