Christopher Loeb gets 3 years for stealing top Suffolk cop James Burke's gun belt, ammo

Christopher Loeb, 27, of Smithtown, the heroin addict who testified that Suffolk police Chief James Burke beat him while in custody, was sentenced on April 18, 2014, to 3 years in jail for stealing Burke's gun belt and ammunition from his police-issued vehicle. Loeb's attorney, Daniel Barker of Riverhead, said his client has "been remorseful since day one." (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

A Smithtown heroin addict was sentenced Friday to 3 years in prison for stealing a duffel bag containing a gun belt and ammunition from a car issued to the Suffolk police department's top uniformed officer.

Christopher Loeb, 27, insisted again in court that his constitutional rights were violated because Chief of Department James Burke beat him while in custody -- a charge Burke has denied.

State Supreme Court Justice Martin Efman, scarcely acknowledging the allegation, said Loeb broke into a number of parked cars to feed his addiction and had only himself to blame for his troubles.


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"There were other victims other than Mr. Burke who were hurt by your actions . . . This is the second time you have appeared before me on the same kind of thing," Efman said.

The judge ordered Loeb, who has admitted to a $100-a-day heroin habit, to receive drug treatment while in prison.

"You have to deal with that yourself . . . If you don't work that out, you'll spend a lot of time in jail," Efman told him.

Loeb was not required to serve additional prison time for a probation violation in a 2012 larceny case.

Loeb's attorney said outside the Riverhead courtroom that his client was sorry for his crimes, but might not have expressed himself well.

"He's been remorseful since Day 1," said attorney Daniel Barker of Riverhead. "It was unfortunate, because at times in court he was angry and anxious about the actions of the Suffolk County Police Department, and at times it became intertwined."

The special prosecutor brought in to handle the case, Peter Crusco of the Queens district attorney's office, had no comment on the sentence.

Loeb reiterated during the sentencing that Burke violated his rights after his December 2012 arrest. "I want the court to know I am upset on that matter," he said. "They weren't held accountable for their actions."

An FBI investigation into the alleged beating has been closed, Crusco said in January.

Loeb pleaded guilty that month to third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He had faced more than 9 years for weapon, theft and probation charges.

During an evidence-suppression hearing in the case, a Suffolk police sergeant and a detective testified that they saw Burke in the interrogation room with Loeb at the Fourth Precinct after his arrest. Det. Keith Sinclair and Sgt. Michael Kelly said they saw no bruises or signs of abuse on Loeb after Burke left the room.

Barker asked Sinclair whether it was unusual to have such a high-ranking official in an interrogation room. Crusco objected. The judge upheld the objection, and the question was not answered.

Retired Suffolk County Det. Richard Cottingham, the lead detective in the case, testified that Burke appeared at Loeb's house the morning of the arrest and reclaimed the duffel bag.

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