The day before a man working in Riverhead allegedly committed what police called "a brutal home invasion" in East Hampton this July, he was released from prison, where he served time on felony charges related to robbing a bank and calling in a bomb threat about the Smith Haven Mall.
According to New York State Department of Corrections records, Alexander C. Haje was released on parole from the Queensboro Correctional Facility in Long Island City on July 26 after serving a 2.5 to 4-year sentence.
The very next day, according to East Hampton Town police, Haje, 26, went with another man to a cottage in Maidstone Park looking for drugs and money. They lured the resident outside, assaulted him, and then forced him inside, where he was robbed of cash, credit cards, and electronics.
Haje was held without bail after his arraignment in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday, due to his prior felony offender status, according to Police Detective Lt. Chris Anderson. The second man remains at large.
Standing in shackles in court on Thursday, Haje told the judge he was working part-time as a sterilization technician at East End Dialysis Management in Riverhead for the past two months. He moved into his current residence in Southampton about a month ago, he said.
In February 2009, Haje was arrested after he robbed a Bank of Smithtown branch in Centereach, according to WABC News at the time.
Haje, who was then 22 and living in South Setauket, reportedly approached a teller with what looked like a semi-automatic handgun. He handed over a note demanding cash and threatened to shoot. The teller handed over money, and hit the silent alarm.
Suffolk County Police Department Sixth Precinct officers searched for the suspect and found a man, acting suspiciously. He reportedly had a knife, seen coming out of his pocket, and was wearing dark-colored makeup on his face. They took him into custody and found he had a pellet pistol, a wig and the cash from the bank.
The Major Case squad discovered that before Haje robbed the bank, he allegedly called in a bomb-threat at the Smith Haven Mall to try and distract officers. "Unfortunately for Haje, authorities say the officers responding to the threat were coming from a different area than those who responded to the bank," WABC News said.
Haje was charged with one count of second-degree robbery and one count of second-degree falsely reporting an incident, a Class E felony punishable of up to 4 years in prison.
Prison records show that he was serving time for the latter charge and third-degree robbery, a Class D, non-violent felony under the statue, which is punishable of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. He began his sentence on July 24, 2009, records show.
He became eligible for parole in Sept. 2011. A hearing was held in June 2012.
In the East Hampton case, detectives believe the pair mistakenly went to the wrong house and that they were actually trying to rob another man of drugs and money.
That wasn't Haje's first mistake: According to WABC, Haje's attempt to distract police with the phony bomb threat would never have worked because different precincts patrol the Centereach bank and the Smith Haven Mall.