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Watertown shoplifting probe leads to burglary arrest

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Watertown police officers investigating a suspected shoplifter Thursday morning found evidence linking the man, an ex-convict, to a burglary that had occurred earlier in the day, according to the Police Department.

The suspect, Mark D. Eastman, 43, of 126 N. Orchard St., Apt. 2, was released from a state prison Aug. 29 after serving a term for attempted second-degree murder. He was charged Thursday afternoon with third-degree burglary and petit larceny and had additional charges pending in a continuing investigation. He awaited arraignment in City Court.

The alleged shoplifting occurred Wednesday afternoon at Ronson’s Liquor, 341 Arsenal St., police said. A security video showed a person believed to be Mr. Eastman stealing a $13.59 bottle of liquor, police said.

Officers Matthew J. Dawley and Mark A. Lamica went to his apartment Thursday to question him about the liquor store incident, and there discovered items believed stolen between 3:35 and 3:37 a.m. at Gold Star Deli, 343 Arsenal St., next door to the liquor store, police said.

Police declined to elaborate about what loot was recovered, but deli shop owner Scott Hirst said police brought to him some items that he believes were stolen from the store. Until he completes inventory, Mr. Hirst said, he knows only that cigarettes and a display case of Zippo lighters, valued at about $600, were stolen.

Entry was gained to the store by breaking a window, which set off a burglar alarm, police said.

Mr. Eastman also is being investigated in connection with car intrusions discovered on Coffeen Street and another shoplifting incident at the Ronson store Sunday, police said.

Mr. Eastman was convicted of attempted murder in 1999 in Oswego County. The conviction resulted from a car crash in the town of Mexico, caused by his drunken driving, he told a Stop DWI victims panel in October at Watertown Urban Mission. Two teenagers, high school sweethearts, were killed in the crash, he told his listeners.

He also served about 4 years in prison for second-degree burglary and attempted third-degree burglary convictions in 1991 in Jefferson County, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website.

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