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Citizens Honored for Helping Police

The vigilance of five Easton residents helped police charge five individuals in the theft of jewelry valued at more than $100,000. And Monday night, the Easton Police Department recognized Gretchen Shippee, Amanda Weber and Nicholas, Nancy and Lauren Benedetto for their assistance in solving three unrelated cases. Chief John Solomon and Police Commission Chairman Robert Nicola presented each resident with a plaque.

"This is an investigation that demonstrates the true meaning of community policing," Solomon said in presenting the awards. "The victim was alert and very observant and gathered all of the information to facilitate the police investigation. ... At the same time, police officers responded with diligence and used all of their skills and all of the necessary tools available to them to quickly solve this burglary and other related crimes."

Lieutenant Richard Doyle and officers Thomas Ceccarelli, Gary Csanadi, Tom Brennan and Jay Festa also received  plaques for their professional and diligent investigations.

Shippee's information led to the arrest of Mallory Reed, 27, of Bethel, the chief said. When officers executed a search warrant at Reed's residence, "the investigators located large quantities of gold and jewelry in an upstairs bedroom closet. Many pieces of the jewelry and gold were linked to other burglaries in the towns of Bethel, Ridgefield and Putnam County, N.Y.," Solomon said.

Most of Shippee's jewelry had been pawned, although four pieces were recovered at pawn shops in Newburgh. Police issued an arrest warrant for Reed's boyfriend, Robert Payuk, 33, of Bethel.

Thanks to Weber’s statements, warrants were issued for Shannon and Martin Bojnec. The Benedetto's sworn statement led to the arrest of Jill Katz, 24, of Bridgeport, who later confessed.

None of the accused burglars are believed to have connections with one another. Anyone with information regarding these or other burglaries is asked to contact the Easton Police Department at (203) 268-4111 or via e-mail .

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