The man charged with repeatedly burglarizing and ultimately torching the home of a New York State trooper serving overseas with the Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing is a career criminal who was in the midst of a crime spree when he was arrested, Suffolk prosecutors said Tuesday.
Harry Fleischmann Jr., 33, of Patchogue, was on parole when he went on a spree that included ransacking and destroying the East Patchogue home of Trooper Eric Carver, who is on a yearlong tour of duty in Africa, prosecutors said. Fleischmann pleaded not guilty Tuesday to an indictment charging him with second-degree burglary and third-degree arson.
Fleischmann is "a person who, in my view, has absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever," Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said at a news conference.
In court, Assistant District Attorney Peter Timmons said Fleischmann stole a vehicle on Dec. 20 from Carver's neighbor, Karen Stiriz, who was taking care of Carver's Lake Drive home while he was away. The keys to Carver's house were in the vehicle marked with the address, Timmons said.
Fleischmann burglarized the house on Dec. 26, taking a credit card, and then returned the next day, Timmons said. This time, he said Fleischmann found Carver's off-duty 9-mm pistol, the keys to Carver's sport utility vehicle and some gasoline in a shed. He splashed the gasoline throughout the house and lit it on fire, Timmons said.
Fleischmann could face a maximum of 25 years to life in prison because of his extensive felony record. He likely faces other charges as well, in connection with a series of burglaries he committed throughout Suffolk County, Timmons said.
Suffolk County Court Judge John Iliou ordered Fleischmann held on bail of $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.
Spota said the police department's Pattern Crimes Unit linked Fleischmann to other burglaries that occurred both last year and earlier in January.
Carver's neighbors have raised $20,000 toward a goal of $75,000 to help him get back on his feet.
In addition to working as a trooper and a reservist, Carver is a past president of the Swan Lake Park Civic Association.
"Honestly, Eric is a phenomenal person," Stiriz, who serves on the Swan Lake Park Civic Association with Carver, said earlier this month. "He goes out and helps everybody in the community and this is our chance to pay him back."
With Brittany Wait