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Suffolk County men accused of targeting more senior citizens in chimney scam

Michael Windland, 28, of Lake Ronkonkoma, and Bruce

Michael Windland, 28, of Lake Ronkonkoma, and Bruce Wimmer, 32, of Bohemia, are led out of the Fifth Precinct in Patchogue Thursday morning, Aug. 21, 2014. Police said they have been charged with burglarizing a Bellport woman's home on Aug. 16 after they were let into her house while pretending to be chimney cleaners. Credit: James Carbone

Two Suffolk County men indicted this month on bias charges for targeting two senior citizens in a chimney-repair scam are charged with swindling four more victims, including an 82-year-old man who gave them $13,000 in checks, prosecutors said Thursday.

Bruce Wimmer, 32, of Bohemia, and Michael Windland, 28, of Holbrook, stole jewelry, cash, a prescription medication and a laptop from the latest victims in St. James, Lindenhurst, East Islip and Bellport between October 2013 and August, prosecutors said.

Neither company that the men claimed to represent actually existed, prosecutors said.

The men were arraigned Thursday on the newest bias charges in Riverhead. Windland was indicted on eight charges, including three counts of second-degree burglary as a hate crime and three counts of petty larceny as a hate crime.

Wimmer's six charges included two counts of second-degree burglary as a hate crime.

Prosecutors said the men were charged with hate crimes because they selected victims from marketing lists targeting those older than 70. The latest victims' ages ranged from 77 to 87.

Court-appointed attorneys for Windland and Wimmer entered not guilty pleas.

Suffolk County Court Judge John J. Toomey held each on $125,000 cash bail or $250,000 bond.

Both were held earlier on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond after their earlier indicments.Windland's attorney, Craig E. McElwee of Hauppauge, said his client "denies ever going into a house with the intent of stealing."

Assistant District Attorney Larry Opisso said Windland made a written confession, and the two were picked out of photo lineups.

Wimmer's attorney, Jack Piana of Hauppauge, said his client "was rather shocked" at the new charges.

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