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Pair arrested in spate of Suffolk break-ins

Police said Michael Willis and Samantha Knab from

Police said Michael Willis and Samantha Knab from Center Moriches are responsible for breaking into five homes in Coram, Selden and Port Jefferson Station after the pair were arrested trying to break into a sixth home -- this time, in Coram. (Aug. 3, 2012) Credit: SCPD

A Center Moriches couple, accused of breaking into five homes in Coram, Selden and Port Jefferson Station, were arrested after they tried to break into a sixth home, police said Friday.

Samantha Knab, 23, and Michael Willis, 22, who Suffolk County police said live together at 75-11 Wildflower Ct., were arrested Thursday after the homeowner at Whitmore Lane in Coram called 911 to report the attempted break-in.

Police said an investigation determined the pair had committed five prior burglaries within the past month.

In Willis' written statement to police, he admitted to committing the burglaries and the attempted break-in "to support their drug habits," said Bob Clifford, spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Knab and Willis were each charged with five counts of second-degree burglary and one count of second-degree attempted burglary.

In addition, Knab was charged with one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and Willis was charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Following their arraignments Friday in First District Court in Central Islip, both were to be sent back to the Suffolk County jail in Riverhead, Knab on $35,000 cash bail, $105,000 bond, and Willis on $120,000 cash bail, $360,000 bond. They are due back in court on Aug. 8.

Paul Barahal, a Smithtown attorney, said he had just been assigned on Friday to represent Willis and was "going through the paperwork."

Knab's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Police said that Knab and Willis went to the home on Whitmore Lane in Coram Thursday afternoon, rang the bell, then attempted to break in after no one answered.

The homeowner told police she hadn't answered the door because she believed the young couple were solicitors, but called 911 after she realized they were attempting to enter through a kitchen window.

Police said they caught the pair less than an hour later as they attempted to flee in a car.

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