Flanders residents said they were relieved to learn that a man who authorities say is responsible for a slew of recent car break-ins in their hometown has been arrested.
Anthony Jenkins, 50, of Riverside was arrested Saturday at Marta’s Deli in his hometown after he tried stealing soup and hot dogs that day from the Riverleigh Avenue business, according to Southampton Town Police.
Authorities stated that Mr. Jenkins was responsible for breaking into cars on Riverside, Brookhaven and Albany avenues in Flanders, as well as several vehicles parked along Flanders Road, over the past several months and stealing everything from money and loose change to electronics and cellphones from them. Over that time, more than 70 vehicle break-ins have been reported.
Police this week declined to confirm how many of those incidents they think Mr. Jenkins is responsible for.
Mr. Jenkins was charged with four counts of petit larceny, a misdemeanor, as well as two counts of criminal mischief, a felony. He was taken to police headquarters in Hampton Bays for processing and held overnight.
His arraignment information was not available this week, though Town Police Lieutenant Susan Ralph said Mr. Jenkins was ultimately released on an appearance ticket and must return to court at a later date.
Phillip Tocci, who lives on East Street in Flanders, said he was glad to learn that an arrest has been made. After hearing about the break-ins, he said he opted to leave the doors to his car unlocked, a step that most likely prevented him from having to replace broken windows.
“I knew they were breaking windows if they thought something was inside, so I left [my car doors] unlocked,” Mr. Tocci said, noting that someone rummaged through his vehicle during the spree.
His daughter, Susan Tocci of Hampton Bays, said many in the community had already suspected that Mr. Jenkins—whom many in the area referred to as “Creepy”—was responsible for the crimes and told the police as much.
“It’s pretty much been common knowledge in the area for months that he was one of the people,” Ms. Tocci said this week. “Anthony Jenkins—he goes by the name of Creepy.”
Although authorities have accumulated more than 70 incident reports, locals suspect that the number of victims is higher than that, explaining that some people opted not to report the crimes. “I talked to eight different people who didn’t report it because nothing was stolen,” Mr. Tocci said.
Not all hamlet residents were as fortunate. Carla Kelly, a longtime resident of Port Street in Flanders, said thieves stole $350 in cash from her wallet after she left it in her vehicle. The suspects also smashed the window to another vehicle that had been parked in her driveway.
Anthony Pace, another Flanders resident who lives on Priscilla Avenue, said the thief used a brick keeping his basketball hoop in place to smash the window of his girlfriend’s 2000 Acura before stealing her purse.
Staff writer Erin McKinley contributed reporting to this story.