Five people wanted in a four-month string of commercial burglaries were arrested as they regrouped hours after the accused ring's latest theft -- lifting batteries from cars held at the Islip town impound yard, Suffolk police said Thursday.
Beginning in October, burglars primarily targeted Islip town stores and bars after they closed, taking more than $6,000 in electronics from one AT&T store and hundreds of dollars by snatching the "Super Bowl box" of bets at some bars, said Third Precinct Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer.
Detectives said the suspects were fueling drug habits when they stole from 11 businesses, one home and the impound yard.
"They called it 'going shopping,' " said Beyrer, who called the crimes "crude smash and grab" burglaries. said.
Detectives are trying to determine if others were involved.
Arrested were Kevin Alver, 21, of Islip Terrace; Christopher Craft, 22, of Bay Shore; Kenneth Dillmann, 18, of East Islip; and Thomas Miller, 17, and Lindsay Mitts, 17, both of Lindenhurst.
All but Mitts were arraigned Thursday. Miller was released on a $20,000. Alver's and Craft's bail was set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond and both were transported to the county jail in Riverhead; Dillmann's bail was listed as $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond and a temporary order of protection was issued against him. Mitts, released on station house bail, is to be arraigned in March.
Alver and Craft face the most charges. Alver's attorney had no comment. Craft's attorney did not immediately return a call Thursday night.
Officers were outside the homes of two of the suspects early Wednesday, waiting to arrest them, when four of the suspects arrived at Alver's home, police said. Craft was in the house when the four came back from breaking into the impound yard, Beyrer said.
They stole about 10 car batteries sometime after midnight and had already sold them before getting to Alver's house about 7:30 a.m., the lieutenant said.
Not every suspect participated in each burglary, he said.
"That was fast," he said. "They knew how to dispose of stolen property and they had different ways and means of disposing them."
The businesses victimized included the Viking tavern in Islip, Subway in Bay Shore, Doc's Billiard Emporium in Bay Shore, Nationwide Insurance in West Islip and the Gator Blue Bar and Grill in East Islip, which was hit twice, police said.
Early on, investigators noticed the burglaries were "crude smash and grab" crimes and figured the same people were responsible, Beyrer said. "They would throw rocks at the windows or use tools, prybars, to enter the stores," he said.
The burglary of an Islip residence led police to identify several suspects, Beyrer said.
Alver, of 23 Fischer Ave., was charged with 11 counts of third-degree burglary; second-degree burglary; seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance; petty larceny; and criminal trespass.
Craft, of 1321 Lombardy Blvd., was charged with 12 counts of third-degree burglary and one count of second-degree burglary.
Dillmann, of 28 Melanni Place, was charged with second-degree burglary, petty larceny and criminal trespass.
Miller, of 350 North Fulton Ave., was charged with third-degree burglary, petty larceny and criminal trespass.
Mitts, of 122 Marie St., was charged with petty larceny and criminal trespass.