Riverhead - (WALK) Two homeless men accused of stealing the East Moriches fire chief's SUV in January are at home behind bars this morning after pleading not guilty to charges of grand larceny Thursday.
Corey Smith and Raymond Peruggi, both 23, saw the marked, 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe idling in front of the Center Moriches fire house at about 1:00 a.m. on January 26 and drove it away, said Suffolk prosecutors Thursday. The pair regarded the vehicle as a warm, dry place to drink beer according to published accounts.
The vehicle was spotted later that Sunday morning in Rocky Point, setting of a massive pursuit by Suffolk police, including patrol cars and a helicopter. Their hot pursuit ended when the SUV slid off an icy road in Eastport and crashed into a snowbank, said police.
Smith and Peruggi are charged with grand larceny. Peruggi, the alleged driver, is also charged with unlawful fleeing a police officer, speeding reckless driving and breaking other traffic laws.
Peruggi is a prior felony offender who was discharged from a correctional facility uppstate on January 15 after serving three years for possession of stolen property, according to prosecutors.
Smith is behing held in lieu of $10,000 cahe or $20,000 bond. Bail for Peruggi is set at $25,000 or $50,000 bond.
Photo: Chris Potter