By Kathryn G. Menu
A Springs man was arrested last Thursday by East Hampton Town Police for a string of burglaries throughout East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton. Police say he stole over $126,000 in jewelry, prescription medications and cash between January and October of 2013.
Justin T. Bennett, 35, of East Hampton was arrested on Thursday, October 24 after being pulled over while driving a 2003 black Toyota sedan on Route 114 in East Hampton. According to police, Bennett became a suspect based on witness descriptions of a dark colored sedan operated by a white male coupled with information provided by New York City detectives regarding the recovery of a significant amount of jewelry in their jurisdiction. Several thousands of dollars worth of jewelry was recovered by detectives in New York City, according to police.
Bennett was charged with 14 felony counts of burglary in the second degree, two counts of attempted burglary in the second degree, also felonies, one count of criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument, a misdemeanor, and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.
He was arraigned Friday in East Hampton Town Justice Court in front of Justice Lisa Rana. Bennett was remanded into the custody of Suffolk County Sheriffs in lieu of $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.
According to Detective Lt. Chris Anderson, an indictment against Bennett may have been unsealed as early as Wednesday afternoon — after press time — and he could face more charges. If he is indicted, Bennett would then be arraigned in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead.
According to Detective Lt. Anderson, at this point they have cleared 27 ongoing burglary investigations connected to Bennett. That includes 16 in East Hampton, 10 in Southampton Town and one in Sag Harbor Village.
On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Police Detective Jeffrey Proctor said the village burglary allegedly committed by Bennett involved the theft of jewelry, and roughly estimated the value around $10,000.
According to court records, in East Hampton the thefts occurred primarily in the hamlet of Springs. In Southampton, burglaries were reported most often just outside of Sag Harbor in Noyac and in North Sea, as well as neighborhoods in Bridgehampton.
“In an overwhelming majority of the cases there were homes unlocked or hidden keys were located in not so hidden places,” said Detective Lt. Anderson.
He added Bennett has cooperated with police since his arrest.
An investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact East Hampton Town Police 537-7575. All calls will be kept confidential.