By Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Police have arrested a Connecticut man who they say stole expensive rings from two Long Island jewelry stores by distracting employees and hiding the items in his mouth.

Fifty-two-year-old Joseph Castro was charged with two counts of third-degree grand larceny and drug possession after Nassau County detectives caught him with heroin in Massapequa Park on Tuesday.

Police say Castro stole nine rings collectively valued at more than $22,000 from two stores in Bellmore and Massapequa between Sept. 9 and Sept. 28. Detectives say while he was in the Bellmore store he managed to slip eight rings into his mouth.

The Middletown, Connecticut man was arrested after he entered a third jewelry store near Sunrise Highway and employees recognized him.

Castro is being held after failing to make bail. His attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.

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