A Riverhead man was arrested Tuesday in connection to two recent burglaries at Greenport businesses.
Southold Town Police arrested Juan Lopez, 44, on two felony burglary charges for break-ins that occurred at Front Street Station and the Parapsychology Foundation last week.
Both businesses took to social media following the incidents. Front Street Station owner Sharon Sailor wrote on Facebook that her business was broken into around 1 a.m. last Thursday night and is now taking extra precautions in light of what happened.
“We have been being ultra careful,” Ms. Sailor said in an interview. “This is the first time anything like this has happened. We have had to change things — the way we close at night and leaving extra lights on. It is a terrible thing … you’re looking at everyone and thinking, could that be the person?”
Southold Town police had said the incidents at Front Street Station and the Parapsychology Foundation were related and Mr. Lopez was arrested Tuesday for the robberies. He was held for arraignment, police said.
Other East End businesses have also reported thefts in recent weeks.
The large wooden sign that marked the entrance to Lavender by the Bay in East Marion was stolen overnight last Thursday, according to its owners. Lavender by the Bay vice president Chanan Rozenbaum, said security footage showed two people walking off with the sign around midnight.
A temporary sign was installed in its place over the weekend and the owners are in the process of improving their security following the incident.
“We are updating our cameras for better visibility,” Mr. Rozenbaum said. “We’re more aware of our surroundings [now].”
On Monday morning, Chris Dowling, owner of One Love Beach — located roughly three miles from Lavender by the Bay — shared security video of a woman believed to be shoplifting at the Main Street store over Labor Day weekend.
“Hopefully someone will recognize her and justice will be served. It’s not easy running a retail business year round in this town and this person just took food off our plates and shoes off my son,” his post stated. “We are done accepting apologies from people we catch in the act. Everyone going forward will be prosecuted. We are pressing charges no matter how small an item was stolen. We are done.”
The owners of Tea and Tchotchkes on Front Street also shared a snapshot from their security camera depicting a woman taking an ornamental log from outside the business the night of Aug. 20.
“I am shocked,” owner Brittany Calvert told the Suffolk Times Tuesday. “We always had a camera, but now I am going to have to put up a sign in the window that says, ‘Smile, you’re on camera.’”
At the start of the summer season in 2017, Greenport business owners created a network through the app WhatsApp to share information about possible crimes, such as shoplifting and passing counterfeit money. Police can monitor the app.
Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said the app is still in use and geared more toward quickly sharing information on crimes committed while a business is open. The most recent string of burglaries has occurred mostly during overnight hours, he said.
Correction: A headline referred to the thefts as robberies. He was arrested for burglary.