Store owner upset by robbery suspect's probation release

Suffolk police arrested a 26-year-old Mastic Beach man for allegedly burglarizing two businesses in the same day.

Suffolk police arrested a 26-year-old Mastic Beach man for allegedly burglarizing two businesses in the same day. (5/20/16)

MASTIC BEACH - A Suffolk store owner says he's upset after the man accused of robbing his business twice was released on probation.

Police say John Nuzzi jumped the fence at Ultimate Mower Repair & Tool in Mastic Beach early on May 15, and stole several items from the area.

Store owner Dean Denninger says he knew immediately who robbed the business. 

"We had a feeling he would be back," says Denninger. "And when we came in, it was the same setup, same entry point…it was all relative to the first time."

Police say Nuzzi originally faced multiple burglary charges stemming from two separate incidents at Ultimate Mower, and for two more at a business across the street.

Nuzzi accepted a plea deal from the Suffolk District Attorney's Office. In exchange for pleading guilty to a felony third-degree burglary charge, he will make restitution payments and serve five months’ probation - avoiding any jail time.

Denninger doesn't feel that was enough. He is upset he wasn't consulted on the plea deal by the DA's office, and he thinks that the punishment for Nuzzi should have been harsher.

"It's not about the money, it's about cleaning up this town, and saying we're not going to take it anymore," says Denninger.

News 12 Long Island is told the plea agreement was based on the fact that Nuzzi had no prior convictions. However, the Volusia County government website shows Nuzzi had been arrested at least 10 times in the state of Florida. A spokesperson for the DA's office said an arrest doesn't necessarily guarantee a conviction. 

A correction official in Florida could not immediately say how many of the cases resulted in conviction, but did say that Nuzzi was jailed for more than a year and a half. According to the government website, the charges Nuzzi faced in Florida include possession of cocaine, armed burglary and aggravated assault. 

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