Update (March 29, 12 p.m.): The man accused of stealing $20,000 in garden supply items from North Fork nurseries was released Thursday morning on $1,500 cash bail after pleading not guilty.
Appearing before Justice Eileen Powers, he faced nine counts of criminal possession of stolen property, including five felonies and four misdemeanors, according to Southold Town Police Detective Sgt. John Sinning. He was charged with three counts of possession of stolen property in the third degree, two counts of fourth-degree possession of stolen property, and four counts of fifth-degree possession of stolen property.
The detective said they found an “immense amount” of material when executing a search warrant at Mr. Waitz’s Mattituck property. Some of the plants he allegedly stole were planted in his backyard. Police also said he took potting soil, mulch, pots, and other growing supplies.
Detective Sinning said he was charged once for each of the nine nurseries he took property from, based on the total value of the material. While he declined to identify the businesses, he said they are all on the North Fork, in both Southold and Riverhead Towns.
Though the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office did not appear in court, the office sent a recommendation for $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.
William Goggins, Mr. Waitz’s attorney, called the figures “excessive.” He said his client has no criminal history.
He said Mr. Waitz is not a flight risk, as he is a lifelong Southold Town resident and owns his own home. He has a carpentry business, but previously worked for a builder for 15 years, his lawyer said.
Justice Powers set bail at $1,500 cash or $3,000 bond.
His family appeared in the courtroom and posted his bail.
He is due back in court on April 20.
Originally (March 29, 8:30 a.m.): Southold Town police detectives arrested a Mattituck man Wednesday on charges of allegedly stealing over $20,000 in garden supply items from local nurseries in recent months.
Police executed a search warrant Wednesday morning on Jacob Waitz’s property and found “a considerable amount of nursery and greenhouse plantings as well as potting soil, mulch, pots, and other growing supplies,” a press release said.
Police said they found stolen items from nine area nurseries and greenhouses over the past several months. The owners reportedly identified the stolen items — totaling $20,000.
Mr. Waitz, 40, was arrested just before 9 a.m. He faces nine charges, including both felony and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of stolen property.
He was held overnight for arraignment in Southold Town Justice Court Thursday.
Photo caption: Jacob Waitz led into court Thursday morning. (Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey)