By Joe Anuta
Detectives from the 109th Precinct tracked down a 16-year-old last week allegedly responsible for about 15 brazen break-ins and burglaries in northeast Queens.
The teen, whose name is being withheld by TimesLedger Newspapers, is accused of breaking into residents’ homes while they slept, burglarizing several businesses at multiple locations, busting into a veterinary clinic and purloining a wide range of items, including cash, electronics, sodas, hand cream and even a dog, according to multiple criminal complaints filed by the Queens district attorney.
The teen was finally nabbed, thanks to the work of the City’s Finest, who received a little help from one of the victims.
“It was fantastic work,” said Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer at the 109th Precinct.
On May 21, a Murray Hill man woke up to find $3,000 worth of electronic devices missing from his home, including a Nintendo DS, a handheld gaming system, according to the DA.
When police arrived at the man’s home, he provided them with the serial number of the handheld gaming device, Maguire said, which later appeared on a database as being sold at a Roosevelt Avenue shop.
After police paid a visit to the seller, he told detectives that he recently had his license stolen, according to Maguire. The man recognized the 16-year-old from security footage at the shop as living nearby, and officers surmised the teen took the ID and used it to sell the device.
“It goes to show how important it is to write down the serial numbers,” he said. “It was critical to the investigation.”
The teen was arrested May 29 after a foot chase in downtown Flushing and was charged with multiple counts of burglary and theft, along with identity theft and criminal mischief in connection with about 15 break-ins between late March to late May, according to the DA.
The 16-year-old hit several homes in the Murray Hill area while the occupants slept inside, according to the complaints.
For instance, after breaking into the home of a Murray Hill woman May 17 and allegedly stealing a laptop, iPad, iPhone, driver’s permit and more than $200 while she slept, the teen returned May 25 at about 6 p.m. This time the woman heard a noise and allegedly saw him walking out the back door of her residence.
When she later checked her medicine cabinet, she noticed some hand cream was missing, according to the DA.
The alleged thief told police that inside he opened the bedroom door and saw the woman before taking off, the DA said.
Later that night, the teen allegedly stole $50 in coins from another house, according to the DA.
On two other nights in May, the teen broke into houses while their occupants slept, but in each case a dog scared him away and nothing was stolen.
Other canines were not as successful.
Months earlier on March 26, a woman returned to her 169th Street home at 5 p.m. to find her laptop, two packs of cigarettes and her dog missing, the DA said.
The suspected thief also broke into the Flushing Veterinary Hospital in Murray Hill the night of May 14 by prying open a bathroom window and then stealing $400 and an iPhone, a complaint stated.
The teen allegedly told police he was scared off by a pig.
Businesses in Murray Hill were not safe either.
The teen allegedly broke into and stole cash from a law office, a bakery and a restaurant two times each. At the restaurant, he helped himself to a can of soda and a total of about $440. He took another soda when he allegedly broke into a different restaurant and made off with $125.
He also allegedly stole $200 and bottles of alcohol from a liquor store.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.