Burglary Charge Is the Lastest in a String

Ned Wessels, 31, was taken from Suffolk County jail to East Hampton Town Justice Court last Thursday to be arraigned on burglary charges stemming from an incident in East Hampton Village last April. T.E. McMorrow

Ned R. Wessels, 36, a former resident of East Quogue and a convicted sex offender, was taken from county jail to East Hampton Town Justice Court last Thursday to be arraigned on charges of burglary and possession of stolen property. It was one of at least eight sets of charges he is facing in East End courts.

According to East Hampton Village police, Mr. Wessels burglarized a Buell Lane Extension, East Hampton, house owned by Thomas and Kathleen Piacentine on April 13, 2017, making off with over $15,000 worth of jewelry and watches. He allegedly pawned them on Long Island in the weeks that followed. 

Mr. Piacentine told police that a day or so before the burglary he had seen the driver of a van belonging to Edible Arrangements, a fruit delivery company, walk onto his property. After the burglary, the younger Mr. Piacentine identified the driver as Mr. Wessels, a friend of one of his sons, also named Thomas, who was not at home at the time but later warned his father that Mr. Wessels was a thief who had done time in jail. After the burglary, the younger Mr. Piacentine, who knew Mr. Wessels and called him, reported that Mr. Wessels said he “was in a bad position” and that the jewelry “was spread out all over the city.” He promised to return it, but never got back to them. 

In the complaint on file at East Hampton Justice Court, Mr. Wessels is accused of selling the jewelry to three different pawnshops belonging to a company called Wall Street Gold. Suffolk County and East Hampton Village detectives were able to trace the transactions, and in August a warrant for his arrest was issued by East Hampton Town Justice Court. He had by then vanished, however.

The first of Mr. Wessels’s string of arrests was made by a Southampton Town patrolman in December 2016 on drug possession charges after he allegedly saw him injecting himself with heroin while in a car in Riverside. 

On May 2, 2017, he was charged by Suffolk County police with three misdemeanors, including driving while impaired by drugs, possession of a hypodermic needle, and possession of narcotics. On May 17, the same department arrested him on two misdemeanor charges, possession of narcotics and possession of a hypodermic needle. On June 21, after a traffic stop, Suffolk County police charged him with vehicular infractions including two misdemeanors. Then, on June 23, he was charged by Suffolk County with petty larceny, also a misdemeanor. 

At about this time, court records indicated that Mr. Wessels had entered an in-patient drug treatment program but had absconded by August, by which time numerous warrants had been issued for his arrest. 

Earlier, on Dec. 21, 2016, a warrant had been issued for Mr. Wessels’s arrest by New York State Justice Barbara Kahn on a felony charge of failing to register as a sex offender. He had been convicted of a sex offense in 2006. 

On Jan. 7, county police arrested him again, and on Jan. 8 bail was set at $250 in Suffolk County Criminal Court for each of five misdemeanor charges. He is being held in the county jail in Yaphank. Then, on Jan. 10, Justice Kahn set bail at $25,000 on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender, the same amount set by East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky on the burglary charges last Thursday.