East Hampton Village police charged Conor Patrick Daly Harkins, 19, with burglarizing the Dunemere Lane estate formerly owned by the journalist George Stephanopoulos, and his wife, actress Alexandra Wentworth.
Police were called to 20 Dunemere Lane on Friday morning by a work crew who had discovered the front gate had been forced open. After the crew entered the property, they discovered Harkins lying unconscious on the front lawn, his face covered with blood.
Police said Harkins had forced his way first through the gated driveway and then smashed his way through the front door of the main house on the property. Once inside, police said, Harkins began smashing things. Among the items destroyed or badly damaged, according to the complaint, was a dining room table, the walls of the dining room, the front and rear screen doors, and several screen windows. Harkins was charged with burglary, for breaking into the house with the intent to commit a crime, and criminal mischief, for causing more than $1,500 in damage. Both charges are felonies. Police estimate the cost of the damage at more than $10,000. Harkins was also charged with trespassing as a misdemeanor.
According to statements made to police, the burglary occurred following a post-prom party at the estate on Further Lane belonging to Marc and Diane Spilker.
Harkins was identified as one of a large group attending the party. Police said the group was picked up by bus at 56th Street and Sutton Place midnight Friday. Another teen, whose name is being withheld by police because of his age, said the group was drinking throughout the night, from the beginning of the bus ride.
At about 6 a.m., the teen told police, he realized that “Conor is acting weird.” The teen was trying to talk Harkins into riding in an Uber with him back to Manhattan. Harkins began talking about getting “a jetpack, and then we can leave this planet.” Harkins got into the Uber with the other teen, but began acting unruly, kicking and punching the roof and the seat in front of him. When the Uber stopped at the intersection of Dunemere Lane and James Lane, Harkins got out of the car and began walking down Dunemere Lane. “We sat there for about 10 seconds, then I just told the driver to take me back to the city,” the teen told detectives.
Harkins has no prior relationship to Stephanopoulos, his wife, or the current owners of 20 Dunemere Lane, police said. After finding Harkins Saturday morning, police were concerned enough that he was taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, where he was treated, before being returned to police custody. “I don’t know how I ended up at that house you found me at,” Harkins told police as they questioned him at the hospital.
After spending the rest of the day and night in a holding cell in East Hampton Village police headquarters, Harkins was brought to the East Hampton Town Justice Court Saturday morning to be arraigned before Justice Steven Tekulsky. Seated in the courtroom was a man identified as Harkins’s father, Peter Harkins. He is the head of Kovler Harkins, a law firm with offices on Wall Street and in London.
Justice Tekulsky asked Harkins what he did for a living. He answered that he had just completed his freshman year in college, and was about to start working in retail for J. Crew. He told the judge he lives with his parents at 1215 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The phone number that he gave the court is registered to his father, according to online records.
Justice Tekulsky said the district attorney’s office had asked that bail be set at $20,000.
Harkins’s attorney, Richard Pellegrino II responded that this was Harkins’s first arrest ever, that his father is an attorney who was in the courtroom, and that he had retained private counsel. He suggested $5,000 as an appropriate amount. Justice Tekulsky agreed. Harkins was then taken back to headquarters on Cedar Street, where his father posted bail.
Besides the main house, 20 Dunemere Lane also has a guesthouse, and a 60-foot-long pool. The main house was built about 1890, and the architect Francis Fleetwood designed an addition to it in 1993. Stephanopoulos and Wentworth sold the house in 2013 for more than $5.1 million to a limited liability company.