Cops nabbed an expert burglar suspected of breaking into at least 36 Bay Ridge homes and almost single-handedly sparking a crime wave that terrified residents of the neighborhood’s bucolic blocks.
Police locked up a 26-year-old suspect on Nov. 5 after discovering 28 cellphones, 23 laptops, 17 cameras, six iPods, 135 watches, 45 rings, 31 necklaces, 17 bracelets, 10 pendants, nine knives and two guns, among other items, in his 66th Street apartment.
“This is a big arrest — a good job,” said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, commanding officer of Bay Ridge’s 68th Precinct, standing at a table covered in the ill-gotten booty. “Since we locked him up, we’ve really not seen much crime.”
The arrest came after a spike in rear-window burglaries between 65th and 86th horrified Ridgites and lead to an uptick in police patrols.
But even with the bulked-up police presence, it took help from concerned neighbors to nab the alleged “pro” burglar.
On Nov. 1, a 911 caller alerted cops of a burglary in progress at around 10:30 pm, where they spotted a man in a black hoodie, a black mask, and wrestling sneakers fleeing from the corner of 80th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The officers chased the speedy suspect for two blocks, but he hopped into a parked Volkswagen and escaped.
Cops traced the vehicle’s license plate to a Staten Island resident who admitted to loaning the car to the 66th Street man.
Early the next morning, officers confronted the suspect’s wife, who gave cops permission to enter the residence — which is between 15th and 16th streets — to talk to her husband, who she said was inside caring for their 10-month-old child.
But when the cops went in, the suspect was gone, the apartment was littered with the spoils of the burglaries, and the baby was left unattended. Officers arrested the suspect’s wife for endangering the life of a child.
On Wednesday, the suspect visited the precinct to see his wife — and cops locked him up for trespassing and child endangerment.
With the suspect behind bars, police obtained a search warrant and removed the stolen items from the home, which included an Xbox, a PSP, a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a .44-caliber revolver, and a pair of binoculars.
But cops wouldn’t have been able to charge the suspect with the burglaries if it weren’t for the help of a 79th Street tipster, who discovered two discarded knapsacks in a compost bin in his backyard, which is between Ninth and 10th avenues.
The bags contained a black hooded sweatshirt, burglary tools, crowbars, two masks, and a letter addressed to the suspect’s wife — an integral piece of evidence against the suspect, cops said.
“[The letter] helps us out a lot, it links a lot of things up,” Rodriguez said.
The suspect, whose name is being withheld by The Brooklyn Paper until his lawyer can be contacted, was arraigned on Friday for burglary, as well as criminal trespassing, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal possession of a stolen weapon.
“Residents of Bay Ridge can rest easy, now that this serial burglar has been caught,” said District Attorney Charles Hynes. “He will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
— with Joe Marino