Trio arrested in stakeout for stealing thousands in merchandise

Trio arrested in stakeout for stealing thousands in merchandise

From left to right, Dean Balsamo, Michael Russo, and Antoinette Russo, who were all arrested yesterday by Northport police. Photos from Northport Police Department

A trio of Patchogue residents, including a mother and son, were arrested by the Northport Police Department on May 11 following a stakeout at the CVS Pharmacy in the village.

According to the department, detective Peter Hayes identified 20-year-old Michael Russo and 46-year-old Antoinette Russo, two of three suspects, at about 7 p.m. on May 11 entering the CVS on Fort Salonga Road. They were stopped as they exited the store, and allegedly found with nearly $900 worth of items in their possession. The police said the store was unaware of a theft.

The 46-year-old woman was charged with two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny and one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Her bail was set at $129,000.

Her son was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of petit larceny, and his bail has not yet been set.

Dean Balsamo, 36, was also arrested on the scene, after police said they discovered he was driving the mother and son’s getaway vehicle. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny, and his bail was set at $23,000.

Attorney information for the three defendants was not immediately available on Thursday afternoon.

The department said on Thursday that the trio has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise from other drug stores in the area.

On April 26, the suspects allegedly stole $1,300 worth of merchandise from the same CVS, and two days later took $2,816 worth of goods from the Rite Aid on Fort Salonga Road.

On May 7 they allegedly struck both stores again, netting $2,0176 from CVS and $585 from Rite Aid.

According to police, the Russos would enter the stores with a small, previously stolen item hidden on their person and intentionally set off the anti-theft alarm. The store staff would allow them to enter thinking the alarm went off in error. The suspects would then fill bags they were carrying with items from the store, go to the counter and pay for one small item, usually a beverage, and proceed to exit. When the anti-theft alarm would go off again, the store staff would let them leave thinking it went off in error once more.

The three are suspected in similar crimes in other locations throughout Suffolk County, police said.