Sheriff's deputies arrest burglars they say are connected with recent spree in and around Ithaca

September 3, 2014 by Rachel Cera

The Tompkins County Sheriff's Department says the two people they arrested late Monday night have admitted their connection with recent commercial burglaries across Ithaca's west end and northside, as well as in surrounding communities.

While conducting commercial property checks, Sheriff's deputies discovered a broken front window at the Subway restaurant at Lansing Village Place, a small commercial plaza on North Triphammer Road near the entrance to the Shops at Ithaca Mall. Soon after making that discovery at about 1:24am Tuesday, they spotted a vehicle that matched a description of one of the suspect vehicles that had been identified in the joint investigation into this summer's burglaries.

Leandre Lovett and Nadie Leigh Phoenix, arrested in connection with a burglary in Lansing. Photos provided by TCSD.Leandre Lovett and Nadie Leigh Phoenix, arrested in connection with a burglary in Lansing. Photos provided by TCSD.Deputies pulled over the vehicle and spoke with occupants Leandre Lovett, age 21, and Nadie Leigh Phoenix, age 24, both of Ithaca. When the pair were interviewed at the Sheriff's office, they admitted to having committed "over twenty burglaries throughout Tompkins County," including recent incidents in the City of Ithaca, the Village of Trumansburg, and the Village of Dryden, as well as two in Chemung County.

Sheriff Kenneth W. Lansing declined to say how deputies determined that the two were involved in earlier burglaries. He says his deputies have been working with the Ithaca Police Department, New York State Police, and Cornell University Police Department to investigate recent commercial burglaries in Enfield and Slaterville Springs, which followed a rash of commercial break-ins within the City of Ithaca. "IPD, TCSD and NYSP Investigators work hand-in-hand with each other virtually every day on the respective cases they are working," Jamie Williamson at the Ithaca Police Department says. "We network and share information on a daily basis and this has proven to be a valuable and effective tool in solving and preventing crime."

The Dandy Mini Mart in Slaterville Springs and the Dandy Mini Mart in Enfield were broken into after a rash of burglaries in the City of Ithaca that included the Subway sandwich shop at Buttermilk Falls Plaza in Ithaca's southwest, Purity Ice Cream and the Piggery on the northside, Angelo's Dry Cleaner and Firehouse Subs, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, the Warehouse Carpet Outlet, Ithaca To Go, Ithaca Grain and Pet Supply, AJ Foreign Auto, and Gimme! Coffee.

The Sheriff's Department says the pair were arraigned before Judge Banfield in Town of Lansing Court, each charged with one count of burglary in the second degree, a class C felony, and two counts of burglary in the third degree, a class D felony. More charges are likely, as the investigation continues with the assistance of the Tompkins County District Attorney's Office and the New York State Division of Parole. Lovett has been remanded to county jail without bail, and Phoenix is being held in lieu of $25,000 cash or $50,000 bail bond. They're scheduled to appear in court again on Friday.

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