Investigation continues in major burglary case

Two men accused in a years-long string of burglaries from New York to Rhode Island remain incarcerated while East Lyme and state police continue to sort through the estimated 100,000 pieces of evidence they found in a self-storage unit in November.

Bernard E. McAllister, 40, of Lisbon, and Mark T. Missino, 43, of East Lyme, who told authorities they were professional poker players, are alleged to have masterminded burglaries in numerous towns.

Acting on a tip, town police in November went to the storage unit and saw both men walking out. The pair fled in different directions, leaving the unit open, and were captured five days later in a hotel in Leominster, Mass. Local and state police have been cataloging the stolen items piece by piece and expect to finish in about a week.

McAllister and Missino are charged with first-degree larceny by possession based on the discovery of contents in the storage unit, according to prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman, who said numerous jurisdictions are involved and additional charges are anticipated.

McAllister is being held at the New Haven Correctional Center and has retained defense attorney Norman A. Pattis. Earlier this month, Judge Patrick J. Clifford reduced his bond from $2.5 million cash or surety to $200,000 cash only at Pattis' request. Clifford said the change would enable McAllister to have more movement within the correction system. He said if McAllister is going to post the bond he is required to do so in court and "then we would have arguments as to the merits" of the bond reduction. McAllister's next court date is March 1.

Missino is being held at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield and is represented by attorney Sebastian O. DeSantis of New London, who was appointed as a special public defender. Missino qualifies for a public defender based on his financial status, but the in-house public defenders were unable to take the case due to a conflict of interest. Missino's bond remains at $2.5 million, but DeSantis said during a court appearance this week that he may also seek a bond reduction so that his client can be moved to the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution, in Montville, making it easier for DeSantis and Missino's family members to visit. Missino's next court date is March 17.

- Karen Florin

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