Police: Duo burglarized businesses, thought officers were busy with COVID-19 pandemic

News 12 has been told the duo is behind 11 burglaries in seven communities between early March and Tuesday.

News 12 Staff

Apr 8, 2020, 3:27 PM

Updated 1,562 days ago

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Two people have been charged in a string of Suffolk business burglaries that police say occurred because they thought officers were too busy dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
OK Petroleum on West Main Street in Bay Shore was among 12 unoccupied businesses that were burglarized. This burglary occurred on March 26, and according to police, was just the second of many.
Suffolk police have arrested two suspects who they say are responsible for the string of crimes. Joseph Porter, 31 of Mastic Beach, and Rebecca Wood, 23 of Lake Ronkonkoma, were arrested Tuesday morning when an officer noticed the car they were driving fit the description of the vehicle used in some of the burglaries.
Police say one of the suspects told them they thought they'd get away with it because police were too preoccupied with the pandemic.
The businesses they allegedly burglarized range from gas stations to car washes.
"These arrests should send a message to those looking to profit during this crisis," says Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart. "We are out in force and anyone who preys on our businesses or residents will be arrested."
Hart says county police have increased patrols to focus on businesses that could be targeted by criminals during the pandemic.
Wood was released to probation without having to post bail, but Porter was held on $250,000 bail.
The judge said he set the bail because Porter cut off his ankle monitor twice and allegedly committed a felony while already released on other felony charges.


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