A Mastic man accused of being a serial copper thief in the Hamptons pleaded not guilty to grand larceny and other charges at his arraignment Wednesday, his attorney said.
Jonathan Hodgdon, 21, was held Wednesday pending a $35,000 bail, but there is no evidence he's responsible for a rash of copper thefts in Southampton Town, said his defense attorney Jonathan Manley, of Central Islip.
After a seven-month investigation, detectives had arrested Hodgdon Monday outside a Remsenburg house when they caught him in the act of cutting and stealing copper pipes, Southampton police had said. Since April, copper piping and other precious metals have been stolen from about 20 homes in the western part of the town, leading to investigations by three police departments, authorities said.
But Manley said his client was not caught "red-handed" Monday and was in his vehicle when officers arrested him. He had a pair of pipe cutters and some copper piping, so he was charged with two misdemeanors in that case, possession of burglar tools and petty larceny, the attorney said.
Most of the other charges stemmed from cases that were "months old," but prosecutors have not turned over any evidence, Manley said.
"They have absolutely no evidence that he stole any property from anybody," he said.
Southampton Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa had said Hodgdon was so "brazen," he cased homes and cut piping during the daytime.
The scrap yards cooperated by turning over to police piping from Hodgdon, Costa said, and investigators took the pieces to various victims' properties to see if the cut edges fit the ruined pipes at the homes. "It was like a jigsaw puzzle," Costa said. "It was not an easy task."
Hodgdon was arraigned on six counts of third-degree grand larceny, five counts of second-degree criminal mischief, third-degree burglary, fourth-degree grand larceny, petty larceny, fourth-degree criminal mischief and possession of burglar tools.
Further charges against him may come from police in Quogue Village and Westhampton Beach Village, authorities said.