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Two charged with hate crime after targeting Greenlawn woman, 92, police say

Two people were charged with a hate crime after they burglarized a 92-year-old woman's apartment Monday afternoon in a Greenlawn complex for people 62 and older, Suffolk police said.

Heather Marchese, 23, and Sean DiStefano, 24, were arrested at the Paumanack Village apartments in Greenlawn after Second Precinct officers responded to a 911 call reporting that two suspects, pretending to be collecting donations for a church, got inside the woman's apartment and stole from her.

Police said the pair was charged with a hate crime because they were targeting people over 60. According to the property manager's website, Paumanack Village offers affordable housing for income-limited people age 62 and older.

Marchese, who is homeless, and DiStefano, of Shoreham, were both charged with second-degree burglary as a hate crime, a felony. Marchese was also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Both were arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Tuesday morning, police said. Arraignment information was not immediately available.

An investigation by Second Squad detectives shows there may be other victims, and that the pair specifically targeted elderly residents, police said. The Hate Crimes Unit is assisting in the investigation.

Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by the two suspects is asked to call Suffolk County Hate Crimes at 631-852-6323.

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