A Middletown man who authorities said pulled off a string of jewelry store burglaries in Bellmore and Massapequa in September by concealing expensive rings in his mouth was arrested Tuesday and charged with third-degree grand larceny and drug possession, Nassau detectives said.

Seventh Squad detectives said Joseph Castro, 52, of Liberty Street, entered J&H Jewelry at 2723 Merrick Rd. in Bellmore on Sept. 9 and Sept. 28 and, while engaging in conversation with employees, slipped eight rings into his mouth with a value of $18,000.

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Police said Castro also struck on Sept. 12 at Great American Jewelry Inc. at 5163 Merrick Rd. in Massapequa, where he stole a ring that was valued at more than $4,000.

The losses in each instance were discovered during an inventory check.

Police said Castro was recognized by employees of Good Old Gold at 5278 Sunrise Hwy. in Massapequa Park, and that they called police, who arrested him. Police said they found Castro possessed heroin when he was arrested.

Castro was arraigned on the grand larceny charges and a seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charge on Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead and was being held on $50,000 cash and bond. He is due back in court Friday.

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His attorney could not be reached for comment.