Police charge brother in Old Lyme heists

Justin P. Weissinger
Justin P. Weissinger

Criminal charges continued to mount this week for two brothers from Old Lyme who are implicated in a series of burglaries throughout the area.

Troopers on Thursday charged Karl W. Weissinger, 21, with break-ins on Library Lane and Johnny Cake Hill Road in Old Lyme, bringing the total number of burglary cases brought against him to four. He was charged last week with burglarizing homes on Cove Road and on Bill Hill Road in Lyme in the spring.

The state police allege that Weissinger and his older brother, Justin P. Weissinger, 25, entered unoccupied homes throughout the region and stole high quality jewelry, precious metals and antiques.

More charges are expected, according to prosecutor Michael E. Kennedy. The brothers are being held at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville and are due back in court on Dec. 12.

The cases state police have been building against the brothers since Justin Weissinger was pulled over after a high speed chase in July are detailed in warrant affidavits prepared by troopers Gary Inglis and Kevin Seery, and Sgt. John Mesham.

In the Library Lane case, a housekeeper who was cleaning the home while the owners were out of town in November 2011 discovered that a safe that had been bolted to the floor of a second-floor closet was missing. The homeowners reported that the safe had contained jewelry valued at $80,000 and provided a detailed list of the missing items.

According to the affidavit in the case, police determined the burglars had entered the home by prying off the wooden trim and removing the pane of glass from one of a set of small windows that flanked a casement window. They then reached in the opening and in order to unlock and open the casement window. The thieves replaced the window pane and molding prior to leaving, "to make it appear as though entry had not been made into the residence," according to the affidavit.

One of the more distinctive items stolen that day was a 1-ounce, gold, 1974 Krugerand necklace, according to the troopers. They said they recovered the necklace from Weissinger after the chase.

The Johnny Cake Hill Road home was burglarized in April. The police determined the thieves had entered through an unlocked front window, had stolen silver items from a side table in the dining room and had emptied a jewelry chest in a bedroom of its contents, according to the affidavit. The total value of the stolen items was estimated at $5,475.

One of the stolen items was a gold pocket watch, engraved with a family member's initials, that was later recovered from a Mystic jewelry dealer.

The investigation focused initially on Justin Weissinger, who returned to Connecticut from California in 2009 after being discharged from the Marines. While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Weissinger had been convicted of committing burglaries with a group of fellow Marines and had served as a key prosecution witness in the home invasion and murder of a Marine sergeant and his wife.

In July, police say, Justin Weissinger led a Montville police officer on a high speed chase. Upon his arrest, they said, he was found to be in possession of a .380-caliber pistol stolen from a Salem home and other stolen items.

Two days later, state police executed a search-and-seizure warrant at a barn on the Brush Hill Road, Lyme, property of former First Selectman William T. Koch Jr., who is the boyfriend of Weissinger's mother, Nicole Weissinger. Justin Weissinger used the barn for various projects, according to Koch. The troopers said they recovered guns stolen from burglaries in East Haddam and Salem.

The probe led Inglis to the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. jewelry store at 9 W. Main St. in Mystic, where he ran into Karl Weissinger, who was attempting to sell two stolen watches and a gold chain, according to the court documents.

The jewelry store owner, Matthew Hopkins, reported that the brothers had been into the store between 15 and 25 times and had sold him about $100,000 worth of items they said they had purchased by bidding on abandoned storage units. Hopkins said he had seen Justin Weissinger wearing a mounted gold Krugerand around his neck three or four times, but that Weissinger had declined to sell it to him.

Hopkins turned over many of the stolen items to state police and admitted he sold some pieces to refineries for their melt value. He opened up the store after hours to burglary victims who identified some of their stolen possessions.

k.florin@theday.com

Karl W. Weissinger
Karl W. Weissinger
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