By Ayala Ben-Yehuda
Three suspected burglars were arrested in Auburndale Friday in what the commander of the 111th Precinct said could mark a major breakthrough in a series of break-ins that have plagued Queens for a year.
Police said Diego Jimenez, 21, Carlos Yanes, 25, and John Guzman, 21, all of Jackson Heights, were arrested Friday after they allegedly burglarized a home at near 50th Avenue on 186th Street at 11:45 a.m.
Capt. Thomas Pilkington, commander of the 111th Precinct, said a neighbor called police after seeing three men break into the house through a rear window.
“These are the best of the best burglars,” said Pilkington, who alleged that the three suspects may be responsible for about 25 percent of the burglaries in the 111th Precinct over the last year.
Police surrounded the home, said Pilkington, and when the suspected burglars attempted to flee through the back door, they saw police and ran through the front door — where Jimenez and Yanes were apprehended.
Guzman was apprehended a short time later in the bushes of 186-18 Peck Ave., police said.
The three were charged with burglary, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglars’ tools and criminal mischief, according to a criminal complaint by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
No one answered the door at the house Tuesday.
The three suspects have been arrested previously in connection with burglaries in the 109th, 112th and 115th Precincts, said Pilkington, and are also suspected of committing burglaries in the 105th, 107th and 111th Precincts, he said.
A spokeswoman for Brown said Guzman had not been charged with burglary in the past, but that Yanes and Jimenez had.
Pilkington said no burglaries occurred in the 111th Precinct the weekend after the trio’s arrest.
Burglaries are traditionally a problem in the affluent, mostly residential 111th Precinct, which covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens and part of Auburndale.
The precinct experienced what Pilkington called an “eruption” of burglaries toward the end of 2003. Community members have long pressed for the assignment of more officers, and the captain said “a couple” of officers would be coming from the next Police Academy graduating class.
The captain also warned that burglaries tended to rise around the Lunar New Year because of the perception that Asian families kept more valuables in the home around the holiday.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.