White goods stolen for black market

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Crooks are cooking in Canarsie.

Brazen burglars are making off with big-ticket items like stoves and washing machines from homes vacated for post-Sandy reconstruction — and community leaders say it could be happening right under neighbors’ noses.

Seeing somebody across the street wheeling out a dishwasher on a hand truck in the middle of the day doesn’t look like a typical burglary, so even when neighbors are eyewitnesses to these daylight raids, they usually don’t call the police.

“If you see anything suspicious, don’t always assume its the owner that’s coming back to do repairs,” said Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano.

According to police, crooks have hit five empty homes in Canarsie’s 69th Precinct since Feb. 6, stealing appliances, copper pipe, and anything else they can get their hands on.

“They are burglarizing the entire property,” Turano said.

The burglars are targeting homes that are undergoing reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy, in the process of being sold, or otherwise vacant, said Captain Norman Grandstaff, the 69th Precinct’s top cop.

There’s no telling when the break-ins go down, because they are sometimes reported days after the incident, so Grandstaff preaches vigilance. He said people might witness the crimes and think nothing of it, because most people don’t think thieves are audacious enough to make off with something as large as a stove.

He said people ought not assume there is a reasonable explanation when they see something out of the ordinary, like a group making off with a stove or fistfuls of copper tubing.

“It’s like car alarms,” he said. “What do you do when you hear a car alarm? Nothing. We’ve become desensitiz­ed.”

Grandstaff said the precinct is compiling a database of vacant homes and aims to boost patrols around the potential targets. Anyone who wishes to report a vacant house for the watchlist can call the 69th Precinct at (718) 257-6211.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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