Grand Jury Indicts Man Accused of Burglarizing 27 Houses on South Fork
Additional charges filed against Justin T. Bennett.
A grand jury indicted Bennett on burglary charges in the second and third degree and attempted second-degree burglary, all felonies, on Friday, according to online records. Judge Richard Ambro will arraign him on Nov. 7.
Bennett, a Springs resident, has been behind bars since his arrest on Oct. 24, the day after his 35th birthday. Arraigned on charges stemming from 16 burglaries in East Hampton Town, Justice Lisa R. Rana ordered him held on $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.
The case is now in the hand's of the county court, and jail records indicate he is currently being held without bail until he is arraigned on the indictment and a new bail can be set.
At the time of his arrest, East Hampton Town Police Detective Lt. Chris Anderson, who handled the case along with Southampton Town and Sag Harbor Village police, said Bennett was a suspect in 27 burglaries between the three jurisdictions.
He reportedly stole more than $126,000 in jewelry, cash and prescription medications between January and October 2013. One of the burglaries was at the home of a breast cancer patient who was raising money for the LI2Day Walk, which helps support breast cancer-related initiatives, like Lucia's Room at Southampton Hospital.
Bennett told police that he is an addict who turned to break-ins to raise money for his heroin fix.
Police said they developed him as a suspect based on witness descriptions of a dark colored sedan driven by a white man, coupled with information by New York City detectives who recovered a significant amount of jewelry. They stopped him in his girlfriend's black 2003 Toyota Carolla — one of the cars he used to get around to commit the burglaries, he said — on Route 114 in East Hampton on Oct. 24 and brought him in for questioning.
His Legal Aid Society attorney entered a plea of not guilty on Bennett's behalf during his initial arraignment.
A spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office was not immediately available for comment on Monday.