Burke accuser remains in federal custody

Christopher Loeb, 27, pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to Christopher Loeb, 27, pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Photo Credit: Suffolk County Sheriff Department

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A Smithtown man sentenced to state prison for breaking into Suffolk Police Chief James Burke's department-issued SUV, as well as other vehicles, remained in federal custody Monday.

Christopher Loeb was sentenced Friday to three years in prison and processed at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead, a sheriff's spokesman said. But instead of being transferred to the state prison system, which is standard procedure, U.S. marshals took Loeb back into federal custody that night.

Loeb was first taken into federal custody last year because federal officials were investigating Burke to see if he violated Loeb's civil rights while the 27-year-old was in custody after his arrest. In January, special state prosecutor Peter Crusco filed a motion in state Supreme Court, claiming that Suffolk Chief of Detectives William Madigan said former Assistant FBI director April Brooks told him the Burke investigation was closed. Federal authorities have not said the probe is closed.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office of the Eastern District, declined to comment on the marshals' action on Friday.

A detainer was placed on Loeb so that when federal officials are done with him, he will be taken to a state prison to serve his sentence, the sheriff's spokesman said.

Loeb was held on $500,000 bond at the Riverhead jail after his Dec. 14, 2012, arrest. Federal authorities took him into custody in June 2013 as a material witness.

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The FBI had been investigating Burke, 49, the department's top uniformed officer, concerning claims that he had beaten Loeb.

During a pretrial hearing last year, Loeb testified that Burke and detectives punched him while interrogating him in the Fourth Precinct station house after his arrest.

Police witnesses testified Burke went to Loeb's house while it was being searched and took his bag, which Loeb testified contained "nasty pornography."

Police and prosecutors say Loeb and an accomplice took a bag out of Burke's department-issued SUV in the Smithtown area in December 2012. Burke has denied any wrongdoing. Loeb pleaded guilty this year to third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

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