Elmhurst Pair Caught For Break-Ins
Two men from Elmhurst were collared by police last week following an all-night journey around Queens in which they allegedly looked for potential burglary targets-and brought the three-year-old daughter of one of the suspects along for the ride, it was reported.
Michael Natindim, 34, of Van Loon Street and Edgar Mortel, 22, of 83rd Street were cuffed by members of the NYPD Patrol Borough Queens North as they allegedly tried to pawn a number of electronic devices- which they allegedly stole from homes in a series of burglaries earlier in the month-at a Woodside computer store last Tuesday, June 26.
They were each arraigned in Queens Criminal Court last Thursday, June 28, on charges of seconddegree burglary, criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglar’s tools, criminal possession of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal trespassing.
Natindim was additionally charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence after the arresting officers observed him exhibiting signs that he had taken a methamphetamine.
Queens Criminal Court Judge Stephanie Zaro, who presided over the arraignment hearing, ordered Natindim held on $40,000 bail and Mortel on $15,000 bail. They are each scheduled to return to court on July 11.
“Burglary is a serious crime in and of itself. It is unthinkable that a father would put his innocent child in harm’s way while allegedly driving under the influence of drugs and casing potential burglary targets,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown in announcing the charges last Friday, June 29.
Law enforcement sources said that members of the NYPD Burglary Larceny Apprehension and Surveillance Team (BLAST) trailed Natindim and Mortel as they drove inside a Lincoln Navigator SUV around Queens during the early morning hours last Tuesday morning.
Reportedly, the suspects stopped at three homes in Elmhurst, Little Neck and Flushing. In each instance, prosecutors said, Natindim was observed by the officers allegedly exiting his vehicle, then entering a fenced-in area of each residence before returning to the SUV and driv- ing away.
Police continued to follow the suspects for hours thereafter before they finally stopped at the DR PC electronics business on 43rd Avenue near 51st Street in Woodside at around 1:30 p.m.
Natindim and Mortel were observed exiting the vehicle while allegedly carrying a number of electronic items, which they placed on the store’s counter. Police observed Natindim allegedly asking a store worker about how much he could give them for the items- which included a laptop computer, an Apple external CD drive, an iPhone and a watch-“on the black market.”
The officers reportedly moved in and arrested Natindim and Mortel at the store. Upon being cuffed, law enforcement sources said, Natindim told the officers that he had a child waiting inside the Lincoln Navigator.
Police went to the SUV and found Natindim’s three-year-old daughter sitting in a rear passenger seat. There were no reported injuries to the child.
The officers also found Natindim to be exhibiting signs of being under the influence of drugs, including having a pale appearance, bloodshot and watery eyes and incoherent speech. At one point, prosecutors noted, the suspect allegedly fled asleep while being driven in a police car.
Law enforcement sources noted that Natindim allegedly admitted to take methamphetamine earlier in the day.
During a search of the vehicle, the officers reportedly recovered a Sony camcorder, a digital camera, a hard drive, a cell phone, a MacBook laptop and a New York State benefits card. According to authorities, these items were among property reported stolen in four burglaries in Kew Gardens Hills, Fresh Meadows and Flushing which took place between June 22 and June 25.
Various burglar’s tools such as flashlights, pliers and gloves and a rock-like substance and a pipe with drug residue believed to be methamphetamine were also recovered from the SUV. Additional stolen items and quantities of methamphetamines were found during a warranted search of Natindim’s home, prosecutors added.
P.O. Won Chang of the NYPD Patrol Borough Queens North Anti- Crime Team conducted the investigation under the supervision of Capt. Thomas Conforti, Lt. Robert Rattigan and Chief Terrence Monahan, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marnie B. Lobel of the D.A.’s Special Proceedings Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Anthony M. Communiello, bureau chief, and Oscar W. Ruiz, deputy bureau chief.