Arrest in Blower Thefts

An East Hampton man was arrested late last month after a lengthy investigation into more than $25,000 in stolen landscaping and construction equipment.  

Police had been investigating Christopher L. Metz, 43, as a suspect since March. They had searched his Oakview Highway house and reported finding stolen property, but he was not charged until Oct. 26. 

Detective Sgt. Dan Toia declined to expand on the investigation, which he said was ongoing, although he said police believe Mr. Metz had targeted commercial lots off Tan Bark Trail in East Hampton for more than a year. 

He was charged with allegedly stealing Redmax leaf blowers from a trailer at 223B Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton on or around Nov. 4, 2017. The leaf blowers belonged to Gerard Engstrom and were worth nearly $1,100. 

Then, on Nov. 15 of that year, police said he took about $9,600 worth of equipment from a truck parked at 42 Tan Bark Trail. The equipment included a Honda generator, Hitachi jackhammer, Dewalt table saw, Makita 18-volt drill set, and three Stihl concrete saws, all of which they said belonged to Luis Bermeo and William C. Bermeo. 

During the night of March 27 and 28, 2018, he was back on the same street, taking about $15,000 in equipment from storage trailers and a truck parked at 42 and 44 Tan Bark Trail, police said. 

Luis Bermeo again fell victim. He lost two Honda generators and a Stihl concrete saw, together worth about $7,000, which had been in a truck. At some point the same night, police said, Mr. Metz took more equipment: Two Redmax backpack blowers, three Stihl chain saws, and an Echo chain saw, worth $3,500, owned by Antonio Lopez, and $1,600 in equipment, including a Redmax backpack blower, a Stihl hedge trimmer, and a Hitachi chop saw, belonging to Manuel M. Andrande.

Police said Mr. Metz went on to take a Billy Ghost generator, a Stihl hand blower, and a Honda generator, which had been in Jose F. Santiago’s dump truck, which police said was left unlocked. The equipment was worth $2,950. Also the same evening, he was said to have broken a window on a 1997 Chevrolet van parked at 42 Tan Bark Trail. It was unclear if he took anything from it.

During a separate search on March 28, police said Mr. Metz was found in possession of a Redmax backpack leaf blower at his house on Oakview Highway, though he was not charged in connection with that crime until last month. The leaf blower had been stolen from Everton Nathaniel in July of 2017, police said. 

Mr. Metz was charged with three counts of grand larceny in the third degree and three counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, both felonies,  criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor, and criminal mischief in the fourth degree, also a misdemeanor.

Mr. Metz was held without bail due to previous felony convictions. He is due back in court on Dec. 5.