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South Jamesport man stops burglary, kept suspect at scene until police arrived

Tyler Manning

Since his neighbor’s house is listed for sale, Tyler Manning wasn’t surprised to see an unfamiliar truck parked in her South Jamesport driveway last week. He assumed the homeowner, who is a family friend, was having work done to the house before showing the property to prospective buyers.

What did surprise Mr. Manning, however, was the police car parked July 24 in front of the Fourth Street house — and the officer speaking to the man operating the truck. So, once the officer left and the man stayed behind, Mr. Manning, 22, decided to find out for himself what was going on.

Today, Mr. Manning’s neighbor is crediting him with taking the necessary steps to prevent what she called a “burglary in action.”

The man who parked his truck at the house, Michael White of Hampton Bays 24, was later arrested at the property. He was charged with criminal trespassing and criminal possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors, according to a Riverhead Town police report.

Mr. Manning explained last Tuesday to the News-Review how the situation transpired.

Sitting in his car, Mr. Manning called his neighbor, who was at her Queens residence at the time, and asked if she was scheduled to have work done at the South Jamesport house. She said no.

“At this point the cop had left, so she said, ‘Should I call the police again?’ ” Mr. Manning recalled. “I said, ‘Let me see; maybe the real estate agent sent someone to do an inspection on the house or something. Let me see what’s going on.’ ”

The homeowner, whose name is being withheld because she is the victim of an alleged crime, said the officer briefly questioned Mr. White in relation to a hit-and-run accident reported nearby.

After the officer left, Mr. Manning approached Mr. White and asked if he could help him. Mr. White mumbled something about visiting the house to check on its HVAC system, he said.

Mr. Manning called his neighbor back and asked Mr. White additional questions, such as his company’s name and the address of the house he was reportedly working on. He said Mr. White got the house number correct, but said something that sounded like Whitfield Street — a road Mr. Manning, a part-time South Jamesport resident, had never heard of.

“I repeated back to [my neighbor] what he said to me and she was like, ‘No, this isn’t right. Walk away; I’m gonna call the cops,’ ” Mr. Manning said. “So I told the guy, ‘I have my friend on the phone; it’s her house. I’m just checking that everything’s OK. Just wait in your car; I’ll be back in a few minutes.’ ”

Mr. Manning returned to his car and within minutes the officer from earlier in the day was back at the scene. While the two spoke, they realized Mr. White had given them conflicting stories about why he was at the house that afternoon.

The officer and Mr. Manning walked through the house while on the phone with the homeowner to determine if anything had been removed, but found everything to be in order.

Mr. Manning said he was happy to help out his friend.

“[To take] the extra hour out of my time to make sure their house was safe and everything was OK really didn’t seem like much of a question,” he said.

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Photo: Tyler Manning caught someone burglarizing his neighbor’s home on Fourth Street in South Jamesport. (Credit: Nicole Smith)