Mystic jeweler charged in connection with Lyme, Old Lyme home burglaries

Matthew L. Hopkins, 40, shown in 2007 at the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. jewelry store, which he owns, has been charged in connection with a string of Lyme and Old Lyme home burglaries.
Matthew L. Hopkins, 40, shown in 2007 at the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. jewelry store, which he owns, has been charged in connection with a string of Lyme and Old Lyme home burglaries. Day file photo

A Mystic jeweler who did business with two brothers accused in a series of residential burglaries in the Lyme and Old Lyme areas has been charged with possession of nearly $200,000 in stolen jewelry and antiques.

Matthew L. Hopkins, 40, owner of Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. jewelry store at 9 W. Main St., Mystic, turned himself in to state police Tuesday morning knowing there was a warrant for his arrest and was charged with first-degree larceny by possession.

He was arraigned in New London Superior Court, where Judge Karen E. Goodrow set his bond at $250,000 and continued the case to July 31. Court officials said he was transported to the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution in Montville, where he was expected to post bond.

Hopkins, of 396 Post Road, Westerly, is accused of purchasing nearly $200,000 worth of stolen items from accused serial burglars Justin and Karl Weissinger.

Trooper Gary Inglis was investigating a series of burglaries in the Lyme and Old Lyme area when he went into Hopkins' store on July 24 and ran into Karl Weissinger, who was attempting to sell two stolen watches and a gold chain, according to the court documents. He surrendered the items to police.

Inglis also spotted several stolen items on display in the store, including a Narwhal ivory tusk that had been taken during a burglary of a home on Selden Road in Lyme.

Sgt. John Mesham went to the store and recognized a Tiffany bamboo pattern bar set, black tooth fossil and mammoth vertebrae fossil set that had been reported stolen along with a Tiffany sterling silver baby pacifier.

Hopkins told police the Weissinger brothers had gone into the store 15 to 25 times with items they said they had obtained from storage unit auctions.

A week later, Hopkins and his attorney went to the Troop F state police barracks with financial records from the transactions with the Weissingers and several bags of assorted jewelry and silverware that Hopkins said he had purchased from the Weissinger brothers over the past several months.

Hopkins said he sold some of the precious metals to the Geib Refining Corp. of Warwick, which smelted them. An exact accounting of the items was not available, according to the affidavit, because Hopkins was not in compliance with regulations requiring precious metals dealers to submit records to local police.

In August, Hopkins opened the shop after hours to burglary victims so that they could identify their stolen property.

The Weissinger brothers, accused of multiple counts of burglary and larceny, both have cases pending in the court where major crimes are tried.

Justin Weissinger, a 26-year-old former Marine, has spent the past two months in Riverside, Calif., serving as a material witness at a high-profile murder trial. Weissinger testified at the trials of three ex-Marines who were convicted of killing Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, in their Winchester, Calif., home on Oct. 15, 2008. The Marines received death sentences, according to news reports. It is unclear when Weissinger will return to the custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction, where he is being held in lieu of $525,000 bond on the burglary charges.

Karl Weissinger is free on bond and is being monitored electronically while his case is pending. He is due back in Superior Court on July 18.

k.florin@theday.com

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