Justin Bennett

An East Hampton man has been indicted on charges of burglarizing more than two dozen houses on the South Fork over the past 10 months to feed his heroin habit, authorities said.

Justin Bennett pleaded not guilty Thursday at Suffolk County court to 25 counts of burglary and two counts of attempted burglary.

Prosecutors said the 22-year-old suspect stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, including family heirlooms and engraved wedding bands, as well as cash from homes in East Hampton, Southampton and Sag Harbor.

“He usually entered a house through an unlocked door, or he would use a poorly concealed Hide-A-Key that he’d find without much effort,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said.

Bennett was allegedly trying to break into a house on Flaggy Hole Road in East Hampton when a resident of the home confronted him and later identified him to police, authorities said.

Bennett faces a up to 15 years in prison on each of the 25 burglary charges.

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Judge Richard Ambro set bail for Bennett at $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.