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DA: Suspected burglars traumatized dog

In addition to vandalizing an East Setauket house they were burglarizing, four teenagers also terrorized a family dog, a Suffolk prosecutor said Friday as indictments were unsealed.

While they were in the house last week, they took a fire extinguisher and sprayed it in every room, destroying a $30,000 piano, Assistant District Attorney Erin Cho said. They also sprayed the dog, "who is now traumatized," Cho said.

The teenagers clogged the drains of the house and turned on all the faucets, flooding the home and collapsing a ceiling, the prosecutor said.

Charged with multiple counts of second-degree burglary are Darnell Loften, 19, of Middle Island; Sion Sosa, 17, of Centereach; Colleen Elam, 18, of Selden; and Maurice Jones, 18, of Centereach.

Loften, Elam and Jones pleaded not guilty Friday at their arraignments. Cho said the ringleader of the group was Loften, the only one charged with six counts of burglary. He and the others forced their way into homes and stole jewelry, electronics and cash, Cho said.

All gave full confessions and showed detectives the homes they burglarized, she said.

"These crimes are very serious and should be dealt with harshly," Cho said.

Loften's attorney, Mark Lewis of Ronkonkoma, said he "maintains his innocence on all charges." Suffolk County Court Judge James F.X. Doyle ordered Loften held on bail of $125,000 cash or $250,000 bond.

Elam's attorney, Anthony La Pinta of Hauppauge, emphasized that she did not enter any of the houses, but remained in the van they used as a lookout. She remained free on bail of $100,000 bond.

Jones' lawyer, Elinor Braitman of Smithtown, minimized her client's role: "He was not the prime mover in these cases. My client made a very poor choice, but he was not the leader."

Doyle ordered him held on bail of $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

All three pleaded not guilty. Sosa will be arraigned next week.

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