At around four in the morning on November 6, a Midland Avenue resident thought he heard glass breaking at nearby Belluscio’s Restaurant.
By T.W. McDermott
At around four in the morning on November 6, a Midland Avenue resident thought he heard glass breaking at nearby Belluscio’s Restaurant. Then he saw a suspicious black SUV taking off. RPD Officers Anderson and Compagnone, having already responded to a report of a burglary at Oakland Beach Deli, sped to the scene and caught two male suspects before they could escape north onto I-95.
And what a catch it turned out to be for those RPD officers. Later in the morning, as business owners around town arrived to open their doors, several discovered that they too had been burglarized. In addition to Belluscio’s and Oakland Beach Deli, “The Blackout Bandits”, as one Rye Police Department member branded them, looked for cash at Post Road Market, Rye Beverage Mart, and Rye Shell.
But that is not all. Detective Jake Chittenden interviewed Robert Smith of Fairfield County and John Tully of Greenwich, both 21 years old, for seven hours. During that time, the two confessed to 35 burglaries, including two in Harrison, one in North Castle, nine in Greenwich, and eighteen around Fairfield County. Both had prior offenses as minors, although none had been serious.
According to Detective Chittenden, Smith and Tully were helpful, remorseful, and scared. All of the recent offenses were related to power blackouts and alarm system outages, and all were at commercial properties, not residences. The accused deactivated some alarms by cutting wires. They always wore ski masks and gloves, making it difficult for any functioning cameras to identify them.
They were arraigned in Rye and taken to Westchester County jail. Bail was set at $75,000 each. They were also arraigned in Harrison and North Castle; arraignment in Connecticut is pending.