A foster care program at the Syosset MercyFirst facility will be...

A foster care program at the Syosset MercyFirst facility will be shut down after five teen residents were charged in connection with vandalism and burglaries at hamlet businesses, officials said. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

A residential foster care program in Syosset will be shuttered after five teenagers allegedly took part in recent burglaries and vandalism at hamlet businesses, according to the nonprofit that runs it.

MercyFirst, a social service agency on Convent Road in Syosset, offers short-term residential intervention, family support and youth development, according to its website. It will continue to provide other programs and services to children at the facility, the agency said. 

“We are extremely saddened that on June 7, local businesses were vandalized and stolen from, resulting in the arrest of children from our Residential Foster Care program,” the agency said in a statement. “We do not tolerate this behavior and are devastated that our local businesses have been harmed in this manner, and we are cooperating fully with the local authorities in their investigation.”

Nassau police responded after windows were broken at businesses in Syosset on Wednesday, police said last week. An investigation led detectives to the MercyFirst facility. Five teens in its foster care program were taken into custody and charged with counts of burglary and felony criminal mischief.

“MercyFirst accepts financial responsibility for property damages incurred by local businesses,” the statement said. 

The teens were removed from the Syosset facility, and the short-term residential program will close permanently, MercyFirst said in its statement. Officials with MercyFirst did not immediately say where the teenagers were transferred, how many residents lived in the program or whether it will offer the same services elsewhere.

MercyFirst began as orphanages in Brooklyn and Syosset in the 1890s by the Sisters of Mercy Roman Catholic order and has expanded its services to mothers and children ever since. In addition to foster care, the agency offers programs for unaccompanied minors fleeing Central America, adoption services, scholarships and assistance to youths with medical and mental health needs. 

The Syosset businesses broken into were: Cardinali Bakery, Y Cleaners, Arata Sushi, Village Pharmacy, Syosset Wine Cellar, Bagel Master, and J’s Market, all on Cold Spring Road; Kam Garden and Aboffs Paint on Berry Hill Road; Orange Theory and Danny's Chinese Kitchen on Jackson Avenue; and La Bottega on Ira Road.

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