Cops: Serial Burglar Stole $186K in Jewelry, Cash, Drugs

East Hampton Town police arrested a man Thursday they say is responsible for a string of burglaries throughout East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton.

According to police, the burglaries began in January and continued through this month. In addition to local police agencies, the New York City Police Department was involved in the months-long investigation.

Justin T. Bennett, 35, of Fort Pond Boulevard, East Hampton, was brought in Thursday and arraigned Friday at East Hampton Town Justice Court.

In East Hampton Town alone, Bennett is alleged to have stolen $126,000 in jewelry, cash and prescription medications.

Southampton Town Police Department Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa said that in her department’s jurisdiction, Bennett has been connected with 10 burglaries, concentrated in the Noyac and unincorporated Sag Harbor area, taking $20,000 in cash, $40,000 in jewelry and an indeterminate amount of prescription drugs. He is also believed to be responsible for one burglary in Sag Harbor Village, Costa said.

East Hampton police said several thousand dollars of stolen jewelry was recovered in New York City and, coupled with a description given of a white man in a dark colored sedan, Bennett was developed as a suspect. East Hampton Town Detective Lieutenant Christopher Anderson said, because there is an ongoing investigation, he cannot go into details regarding how exactly the jewelry was tracked back to Bennett.

Police said Bennett was driving a black 2003 Toyota on Route 114 in East Hampton when he was arrested. He was found with a hypodermic needle and he admitted to police that he has a heroin addiction, Costa said.

Bennett is charged with 14 counts of second-degree burglary, a felony, plus two counts of second-degree attempted burglary. He is additionally charged with one count of criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

Costa said additional charges will be leveled against Bennett by the district attorney’s office for the Southampton Town and Sag Harbor Village burglaries.

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