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Cops: Off-duty officer helps nab theft suspects

Jonathan Farinella, of East Patchogue, Jefrey Merritt, of

Jonathan Farinella, of East Patchogue, Jefrey Merritt, of Hope Mills, N.C., Frank Defilipo, of Staten Island, and Ryan Dayton, of East Islip face charges in the theft of power tools from a Bellport Home Depot, Suffolk County police say. Credit: SCPD

A Fifth Precinct officer who took a report Tuesday about the theft of power tools from a Bellport Home Depot later helped arrest the suspects on his way home from work, Suffolk County police said.

Officer Martin Gill responded to the store, at 20 Farber Dr., at about 2:30 p.m. after three men allegedly stole several power tools and then left in a Ford Explorer, police said.

Gill filed a report on the theft, police said, and then later, when he was driving home, spotted an Explorer matching the description of the suspects' vehicle.

He followed and made updates to a dispatcher until marked police vehicles stopped the Explorer on County Road 99 and Patchogue-Holbrook Road in Holbrook at about 4:15 p.m., police said.

Four men were arrested and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny: Frank Defilipo, 35, of 255 Auburn Ave., Staten Island; Ryan Dayton, 31, of 280 Bellmore Ave., East Islip; Jonathan Farinella, 26, of 35 Pine Gate, East Patchogue; and Jeffrey Merritt, 23, of Hope Mills, N.C.

Each is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Central Islip.

Fifth Squad detectives are investigating whether the suspects are responsible for additional thefts from other home improvement stores, police said in a news release.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477 or the Fifth Squad at 631-854-8552. All calls will be kept confidential.

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