DA: Suffolk officer committed arson to boost stature in fire department

Posted: Updated:
Weldon Drayton Weldon Drayton
RIVERHEAD -

A Suffolk County police officer was indicted on an arson charge Thursday morning.

Prosecutors said Weldon Drayton, 34, also a captain in the Central Islip Fire Department, acted in concert with another defendant to set fire to an abandoned home on Vanderbilt Drive last October.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said Drayton “handpicked” the home as a target for arson.

“It's alleged that the fire was set so that Drayton could be the first to respond, thereby increasing his stature within the fire department,” said Sini.

In March, three others were arrested in connection with five arsons in the area, including the home on Vanderbilt. All of the structures were unoccupied at the time.

Sini says Drayton acted as a lookout while another person set the home on fire. He also says that Drayton deleted his cellphone data in an attempt to cover up the plan.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a statement that Drayton has been suspended.

“We will not tolerate criminal conduct by our members. The department worked in a collaborative manner with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office throughout this investigation," said Hart.

Drayton pleaded not guilty to one count of arson and one count of tampering with evidence.

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