DA: Suffolk officer committed arson to boost stature in fire department

Posted: Updated:
Weldon Drayton Weldon Drayton
RIVERHEAD -

A Suffolk County police officer was indicted on an arson charge Thursday morning.

Prosecutors said Weldon Drayton, 34, also a captain in the Central Islip Fire Department, acted in concert with another defendant to set fire to an abandoned home on Vanderbilt Drive last October.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said Drayton “handpicked” the home as a target for arson.

“It's alleged that the fire was set so that Drayton could be the first to respond, thereby increasing his stature within the fire department,” said Sini.

In March, three others were arrested in connection with five arsons in the area, including the home on Vanderbilt. All of the structures were unoccupied at the time.

Sini says Drayton acted as a lookout while another person set the home on fire. He also says that Drayton deleted his cellphone data in an attempt to cover up the plan.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a statement that Drayton has been suspended.

“We will not tolerate criminal conduct by our members. The department worked in a collaborative manner with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office throughout this investigation," said Hart.

Drayton pleaded not guilty to one count of arson and one count of tampering with evidence.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Advocates demand Child Victims Act after Pennsylvania church report

    Advocates demand Child Victims Act after Pennsylvania church report

    Thursday, August 16 2018 5:26 PM EDT2018-08-16 21:26:04 GMT
    Victims of child sex abuse are renewing their calls for lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act, which would give survivors of childhood abuse more time to press criminal charges.Victims of child sex abuse are renewing their calls for lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act, which would give survivors of childhood abuse more time to press criminal charges.

    Victims of child sex abuse are renewing their calls for lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act, which would give survivors of childhood abuse more time to press criminal charges.

    Victims of child sex abuse are renewing their calls for lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act, which would give survivors of childhood abuse more time to press criminal charges.

  • Forecast: Hot and humid Friday with hazy sunshine

    Forecast: Hot and humid Friday with hazy sunshine

    Thursday, August 16 2018 5:43 PM EDT2018-08-16 21:43:48 GMT
    News 12 Long Island Weather CenterNews 12 Long Island Weather Center

    Here's your latest News 12 Long Island weather update.

    Here's your latest News 12 Long Island weather update.

  • President asks Justice Dept. to sue opioid manufacturers

    President asks Justice Dept. to sue opioid manufacturers

    Thursday, August 16 2018 10:15 PM EDT2018-08-17 02:15:05 GMT
    President Donald Trump has asked the Justice Department to take pharmaceutical firms to court over their production of powerful painkillers.President Donald Trump has asked the Justice Department to take pharmaceutical firms to court over their production of powerful painkillers.

    President Donald Trump has asked the Justice Department to take pharmaceutical firms to court over their production of powerful painkillers.

    President Donald Trump has asked the Justice Department to take pharmaceutical firms to court over their production of powerful painkillers.

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Aftermath of bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy

    Aftermath of bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy

    A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.
    A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.

    A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble.

    A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble.

  • Just Married on Long Island

    Just Married on Long Island

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

  • Wicked August weather photos

    Wicked August weather photos

    Wednesday, August 8 2018 9:22 AM EDT2018-08-08 13:22:29 GMT
    Lightning in Plainview on Aug. 7Lightning in Plainview on Aug. 7

    August 2018 has brought Long Island some hot, hazy and humid weather. But it also brought some wicked and wild storms! Check out some photos from across the Island.

    August 2018 has brought Long Island some hot, hazy and humid weather. But it also brought some wicked and wild storms! Check out some photos from across the Island.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."