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Shelter Island Police arrest two in shocking vandalism case: Damage estimated at $600,000

On Tuesday, the Shelter Island Police Department Tuesday announced a break in a case that involved shocking evidence of vandalism and burglary in Silver Beach in April 2023.

The SIPD said it had arrested two individuals for burglary in the second degree for illegal entry into two homes, and criminal mischief in the 2nd degree . The vandalism was so extensive in one of the homes, police said, that damage was estimated at $598,885.

Two 18-year-old Sayville residents, Joshua L. Capobianco and John M. Schuster, were arrested and released, with Capobianco on supervised probation, and Schuster released to his parents.

The SIPD stated that the arrests are part of a continuing investigation spanning the past 14 months, conducted by the SIPD, in collaboration with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office Major Crime Bureau, in addition to the Suffolk County Police Department, Crime Stoppers of Suffolk County, and other law enforcement partners.

A photo recovered by police investigating a burglary and vandalism case in Silver Beach in April 2023. The three males shown are still at large; the blocked photos are of two suspects arrested in the case. Police are asking anyone who has information on the persons shown to contact the Shelter Island Police Department at 631-749-0600. (Credit: Shelter Island Police Department)

The SIPD has released a photograph (see above) that was taken in the master bedroom of one of the residences, showing at least five individuals, including the defendants, with at least three others remaining to be identified.

Police said that anyone who can assist in identifying any of males shown in the photo should contact the SIPD at 631-749-0600.

In the second week of April 2023, SIPD officers were called to a Silver Beach residence on Peconic Avenue to investigate a break-in with significant vandalism to the interior. A week later another break-in was discovered.

Silver Beach residents were not just upset at the news, but “deeply concerned,” former Town councilman Jim Colligan told the Reporter. It wasn’t just trespassing, but the damage left by the perpetrators was “major,” said Mr. Colligan, a former president of the Silver Beach Association.

He knows the homeowner whose property was damaged, and was on the scene not long after the crime was reported. Mr. Colligan said the damage looked to him to be “malicious,” with trashed furniture, a musical instrument crushed and lamps smashed, among other scenes of destruction.

“Clothes were tried on and clothes were ripped. It was obvious they were drinking and partying over a period of time,” Mr. Colligan said.

A nearby neighbor, who preferred not to give her name, was also at the house not long after the break-in was discovered. “It was very scary,” she said, describing how the vandals took knives from a wooden holder in the kitchen and “slashed beds, and every down comforter and pillow.”

The vandals also carved a threatening obscenity in a wall along with a grotesque sexual image, the neighbor said.

“It seemed so angry,” she said. She and other neighbors offered the homeowners a place to stay and also brought food for them in the aftermath of the shocking discoveries.

The seriousness of the crimes, and the extent of the investigation by the SIPD, were such that Det. Sgt. Jack Thilberg said that the other law enforcement agencies were called in to assist in the investigation.