Southampton Town police say they have caught two men who have plagued the township with .
Jeison Portuguez, 18, and Alexander David Erraez-Leon, 21, both of Hampton Bays, were seen casing vehicles around Eisenhower Drive in East Quogue on Sunday, police said. The pair were under surveillance by town detectives, according to police, who said that at 12:15 a.m., while Portuguez and Erraez-Leon were stopped in Erraez-Leon's vehicle at Montauk Highway and East Tiana Road in Hampton Bays, they were arrested and the vehicle was impounded.
"Detectives spent a majority of their investigatory efforts compiling and analyzing , reviewing types of vehicles, items stolen, location, time of day and day of week, and collecting and processing evidence from the crime scenes," police said in a release Monday.
There were 44 thefts from vehicles reported over the last three months, police noted. "Detectives were able to clear a majority of the vehicle larcenies from these two arrests, but are still continuing to investigate all possible associated crimes," the release states.
"It seems to be the majority happened in Hampton Bays, East Quogue and the western part of Southampton," Sgt. Lisa Costa said. “They’ve done so many they can’t even remember all of the ones that they did. They’ve been busy."
There have been other thefts from vehicles reported in recent months in the eastern half of town, which other criminals may have been responsible for.
"The thieves would park in a neighborhood and go on foot staking out any cars that had items of value contained within," the police statement reads. "They became proficient at stealing from unlocked vehicles, but saw the opportunities that lay in locked vehicles and they began using a window punch to break the car windows to gain easy entry. Many of our town residents were victimized twice – not only did they have many of their personal valuable items stolen, but they had their cars damaged in the process."
Erraez-Leon was charged with second-degree criminal mischief, four counts of third-degree criminal mischief, five counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, all felonies, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and four counts of petty larceny, both misdemeanors.
Portuguez was charged with charged with second-degree criminal mischief, three counts of third-degree criminal mischief, four counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, all felonies, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, four counts of petty larceny and one count of unlawful possession of burglars tools, all misdemeanors.
After arraignment at Southampton Town Justice Court, Erraz-Leon was remanded to Suffolk County Jail in Riverside in lieu of $1,500 bail. Portuguez posted $1,500 bail and was released.