Two men charged with stealing $26,000 worth of copper gutters from an Amagansett house are due back in East Hampton Justice Court today, their freedom contingent upon whether a grand jury indicted them late yesterday. If no indictment was handed down, they must by law be released tomorrow.
Neither man is a stranger to the criminal justice system, each having at least two prior felony convictions. William Lagarenne of Amagansett, 54, the alleged mastermind, was recently released from the county jail, having served one year after pleading guilty to stealing copper gutters from Riverhead Building Supply in East Hampton in 2012. He was facing felony charges in that case as well, but was allowed to plead to a misdemeanor at his sentencing.
Mr. Lagarenne was convicted of felony attempted burglary in 1991 and again in 2009.
The pair were arrested after a routine traffic stop at 2 a.m. on March 6, on Further Lane in East Hampton. The second man, Freddie Parker, 42, of Bellport reportedly insisted to East Hampton Town detectives after the arrest that he had taken no part in the theft, which took place at Craig Reicher’s house on Oceanview Lane in Amagansett’s Devon Colony neighborhood.
Officer Anthony Scalzo had pulled Mr. Lagarenne’s truck over for swerving across lane lines, according to the police report. The gutters were found in the back of the vehicle, which Mr. Parker described as a ”bread truck.” “It was an excellent stop,” Detective Sgt. Greg Schaefer said last Thursday.
Mr. Parker told detectives, according to his court file, “I want to be honest with the police that I have never been involved with Billy Lagarenne stealing copper.” He stated that he had sold scrap metal “with Billy, at Gershow’s,” but that Mr. Lagarenne sold copper out of state.
“Billy,” he told detectives, invited him to ride around in his 1994 truck on March 5. They stopped at the Hess station in Wainscott, where Mr. Lagarenne bought three bottles of Four Loco, a heavily caffeinated alcoholic beverage. After riding around for a while, he said, Mr. Lagarenne pulled into the Oceanview Lane driveway. He first rang the doorbell, according to Mr. Parker, but when no one answered he took out a flashlight and began ripping down the gutters.
Mr. Parker told detectives he cursed at Mr. Lagarenne, asking him, “What are you doing?” Mr. Lagarenne ignored him, he said. “I ran back to the truck and told him I would not touch nothing.” In the truck, he said, he drank his Four Loco and smoked a cigarette while Mr. Lagarenne loaded the gutters into the bed of the truck.
Mr. Parker described the police stop to the detectives. “Billy says, ‘Oh man, the flies are behind us.’” After Officer Scalzo asked to see the usual paperwork, he said, Mr. Lagarenne “whispered to me, ‘Freddie, my car’s not straight.’ ”
Detectives charged Mr. Lagarenne with criminal mischief, grand larceny, and possession of stolen property soon after they began talking with Mr. Parker. They held off charging Mr. Parker, however, until 11:30 that morning. The same charges were leveled against him after several interviews.
The court found the two men indigent. Sheila Mullahy, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, is representing Mr. Lagarenne. Because they are co-defendants, a second attorney had to be appointed to represent Mr. Parker. Ellen Abraham Markewitz has taken on that job.