A 21-year-old Kenwood Avenue man was taken into custody last Friday at Bridgeport Superior Court and charged with at least 16 commercial burglaries or attempted break-ins last year in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Robert M. Smith is facing 13 counts of third-degree burglary; 16 counts of conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary; criminal attempt to commit third-degree burglary, 3 counts; 16 counts of possession of burglary tools; two counts each of fourth- and fifth-degree larceny; one count of third-degree larceny and three counts of sixth-degree larceny; and four counts each of second- and fourth-degree criminal mischief.
He is also the suspect in similar incidents in New York, Greenwich, Wilton and Redding.
In November 2012, immediately following Superstorm Sandy when many local homes and businesses still had no power, there were 16 commercial burglaries in town, including an attempt to break into the Patriot National Bank at 1755 Black Rock Turnpike. In each instance, police said, entry was made via smashed windows overnights, with money and cash registers the intruder's target.
In Greenfield Hill, a cash register was stolen from the gas station, while cash was taken from the Creative Company hair salon, Greenfield Hill Dog Grooming, a restaurant, and liquor store. A cash register also was stolen from the Greenfield Hill Garden Center at 1285 Bronson Road.
Cash was taken from the pro shop and restaurant at the Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course, while a video game system, three video games and cell phone were taken from the golf course office. At the Andros Diner on Tunxis Hill Road, the entire cash register was taken, and it's believed money was also taken from the barbershop next door.
Entry was also gained into the Brooklawn Country Club by pushing in a window air-conditioning unit, but nothing was taken. However, a laptop computer was taken from the guard shack there.
Evidence gathered by police during their investigation included hand prints at Patriot National Bank, left when the burglar tried to push open the office window. Windows on the front door also were broken, but the intruder could not get past the lobby. Though the bank had no power, the burglar alarm was activated by a backup battery.
On Nov. 16, 2012, Smith and another man were arrested by Rye, N.Y., police for commercial burglaries, and Fairfield police went there to interview Smith. They determined that Smith and his accomplice, who has not yet been arrested, was involved in Fairfield's burglary spree. The second man is a 22-year old from Old Greenwich, according to police.
Smith was also charged with six counts of failure to appear.