Theft of industrial equipment leads to six felony charges, cops say

EH Man Facing Possible Prison Time

An East Hampton man is being held in county jail in Riverside, not eligible for bail, after his arrest following questioning by town police detectives on October 26. He is charged with six felony counts of grand larceny, along with two misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen property, and one count of criminal mischief. Christopher Metz, 43, allegedly targeted industrial and landscaping businesses, breaking into trailers and trucks and stealing almost $30,000 worth of equipment, according to the complaints.

The earliest complaint from an alleged victim appears to date back to 2015, with the most recent being from March of this year. The majority of the felony complaints were made in 2017.

Metz was not eligible to have bail set during his arraignment in East Hampton Town Justice Court before Justice Lisa Rana Saturday morning because he has two prior felony convictions.

Among the numerous items stolen from various victims, police said, was a Honda 4500 power generator valued at $5500, a DeWalt table saw, a Hitachi jack hammer, a Stihl T750 concrete saw worth $1500, a Billy Goat aerator valued at $1400, and a Honda 2000 power generator listed at $1200. He is said to have targeted at least one site twice. Police said he hid some of the equipment he stole in a shed at his Oakview Highway trailer park residence, and some in the woods near the residence. He also admitted to selling some of the equipment, the police said, in Shirley.

Detectives reportedly showed Metz a surveillance video during his questioning at headquarters in Wainscott that captured him carrying some of the stolen equipment as he was stashing it away. “Yeah, that’s me carrying all the stuff on Tan Bark Trail,” he allegedly responded.

Metz is not unknown to East Hampton Town police. His two prior felony convictions that stemmed from East Hampton arrests, according to county jail records, were in 1995, when he was sentenced to 180 days on a robbery charge, and in 2004, when he was sent upstate to Ulster to serve one-and-a-half to three years on a narcotics possession charge. He has also been arrested numerous times on misdemeanor and violation charges in East Hampton.

Metz was represented Saturday by Brian DeSesa, who was on hand as part of a state program that provides attorneys for weekend arraignments. DeSesa said that Metz wanted to waive his right to be released from custody if not indicted by a grand jury within five days, at least until his next court date in East Hampton, which is on November 8, when he will meet with and be represented by Matthew D’Amato of the Legal Aid Society. Waiving that right will allow D’Amato, in the meantime, to negotiate with the district attorney’s office and possibly reach a deal. If he had not waived that right to be released, and the case were to be presented to a grand jury, it is possible that more felony charges could be added, which would make Metz’s current legal predicament that much worse.

t.e@indyeastend.com