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Jul 7, 2009 7:17 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Four burglars, who buried stolen loot on the beach, are arrested

Jul 7, 2009 7:17 PM

East Hampton Town Police arrested three men and a woman over the last two and a half weeks and charged them with breaking into a home on Second Avenue in East Hampton last Halloween and forcibly removing a full-size steel and concrete safe from the basement that contained $50,000 cash, $30,000 worth of gold and silver jewelry and watches and some of the victim’s personal documents.

Detective Sergeant Chris Anderson said that during their investigation, police learned that immediately after the crime, the four burglars buried the safe, still full of the cash and jewelry, deep in the sand at a beach in East Hampton.

“They returned after several weeks, removed the safe to another location where it was forced open, the proceeds were removed and then the safe was reburied at another beach—its final resting place,” Det. Sgt. Anderson said. East Hampton Town Police later dug up the damaged safe, minus its loot, from the beach along Maidstone Park Road, after obtaining sworn confessions from the defendants.

“The lion’s share of currency was gone,” Det. Sgt. Anderson said. “It was a good jackpot for them.”

Police said that to conduct the investigation they forwarded physical evidence from the scene of the crime to a crime lab to identify possible suspects. Victims were also interviewed to provide suspects that may have had motives and knowledge of the safe’s existence.

“All that I can confirm is that there was some sort of knowledge on the part of some of the perpetrators on the existence of the safe,” Det. Sgt. Anderson said.

Police said they identified William Nieto 29, of East Hampton, a distant relative of one of the victims, as a suspect and took him to the Suffolk County Police Department for a polygraph test on June 18. As a result of the interview, he was charged with burglary in the second degree, a felony, criminal mischief in the third degree, a felony, and aggravated harassment in the second degree, a misdemeanor. He was released on $5,000 bail.

Mr. Nieto’s arrest led to the arrest of three others. Mr. Nieto’s girlfriend, Adriana Mateus, 32, of East Hampton was arrested on June 18 at 8:45 p.m. at police headquarters and charged with burglary in the second degree and criminal mischief in the third degree. She was released on $1,000 bail.

Ricardo Merchan Ausay, 32, of East Hampton was arrested on June 25 at 10:05 a.m. at police headquarters and charged with burglary in the second degree. His bail was set at $20,000 and he was turned over to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

Miguel Gomez Paucar, 33, of East Hampton was arrested on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at police headquarters and charged with burglary in the second degree. His bail was not available at the time of press.

Det. Sgt. Anderson said that police do not believe there are any other suspects at this moment.

“The homeowner is satisfied with the course of the investigation,” he said.

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