Weldon Drayton, Jr., a First Precinct officer and volunteer firefighter, is accused of setting a fire at an unoccupied house in Central Islip, Sini says.
Riverhead, NY - June 15, 2018 - Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini yesterday announced the indictment of a Suffolk County Police officer in connection with an arson scheme in which five fires were intentionally set to unoccupied houses in Suffolk County between October 2017 and January 2018.
“What we have here is an individual who purported himself to be a protector, both as a police officer and a firefighter, but instead, as alleged, abused his position as a first responder and put residents’ safety at risk,” District Attorney Sini said.
Weldon Drayton, Jr., who is a Suffolk County Police Officer assigned to the First Precinct and a volunteer firefighter with the rank of Captain in the Central Islip Fire Department, is charged with Arson in the Third Degree, a class C felony, and Tampering with Physical Evidence, a class E felony.
On October 24, 2017, Drayton allegedly acted in concert with others to intentionally set a fire at an unoccupied house on Vanderbilt Avenue in Central Islip.
“It is by the grace of God that no one was injured in these fires, but that does not excuse his behavior, as alleged in the Indictment,” District Attorney Sini said. “There are a number of different ways in which injuries and fatalities could have occurred as a result of the defendant and his co-conspirators’ alleged actions.”
Drayton also allegedly destroyed evidence in an attempt to cover up his involvement in the arson.
“When you have an individual who abuses the position of trust that he was placed in, it is disappointing to all law enforcement and volunteer firefighters who put their lives on the line for their communities,” District Attorney Sini said.
Drayton faces a maximum indeterminate sentence of five to 15 years in prison on the Arson count and a maximum indeterminate sentence of one and one-third to four years in prison for the Tampering charge.
Drayton was arraigned yesterday in Suffolk County Supreme Court before Judge John Collins. He was released on his own recognizance.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Weiss, Acting Bureau Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau.
A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.