Broke Into Homes From R’wood To Oz. Pk.
A Cypress Hills man is spending the next decade behind bars after pleading guilty to breaking into numerous homes in Forest Hills, Glendale, Ozone Park and Ozone Park over a two-year period, prosecutors announced.
Mario Girau, 29, of Jamaica Avenue-collared by police last September for an Ozone Park burglary-pled guilty in March to counts of second-degree burglary and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
Queens Criminal Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt, who accepted the plea, sentenced Girau last Thursday, Apr. 10, to serve 10 years for the burglary charge and a concurrent two to four years for the stolen property count.
According to law enforcement sources, Girau burglarized 10 homes in western and southern Queens between September 2011 and September 2013. Police found much of the stolen loot in his apartment during a court-authorized search conducted after Girau was arrested for breaking into a Tahoe Street home in Ozone Park last September.
“[Girau] is a serial burglar who targeted homes throughout Queens County, terrorizing homeowners by his unlawful intrusions and stealing their valued possessions,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement last Thursday, Apr. 10. “The sentence imposed today by the court is a just resolution of the matter and demonstrates my office’s continued commitment to prosecuting and punishing those involved in burglarizing the homes of Queens County residents.”
Based on an investigation, Girau first burglarized a Margaret Place home in Glendale in September 2011, stealing-among other items-a video camera which contained footage of a wedding.
Detectives recovered the camera from Girau’s home and viewed the wedding video to help identify and track down the device’s rightful owners.
Authorities said the other breakins took place between January and September 2013 at the following locations:
– a home on 115th Street near Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park on Jan. 11;
– a home on 97th Street between 134th Road and Linden Boulevard in Ozone park on Mar. 19;
– a home on 134th Avenue near Hawtree Street in Ozone Park on May 22;
– a home on 114th Place between 133rd and 135th avenues in South Ozone Park on May 25;
– a home on 86th Street near 107th Avenue in Ozone Park on Aug. 5;
– a home on 72nd Avenue near Union Turnpike in Forest Hills on Aug. 7;
– a home on Nansen Street between 71st and 72nd avenues in Forest Hills between Sept. 5 and 6; and
– a home on 101st Street near 157th Avenue in Howard Beach on Sept. 13.
In each instance, law enforcement sources said, Girau removed various items including jewelry, computer equipment, cameras, sports memorabilia and assorted ammunition, including a box filled with hundreds of hollow-point, armor-penetrating bullets.
Girau’s run came to an end on Sept. 19, 2013, when members of the NYPD Burglary Larceny Apprehension and Suppression Team (BLAST) for Patrol Borough Queens North-as part of its investigation into the burglaries-observed him traveling through western Queens neighborhoods in a Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
Upon arriving at the Tahoe Street location, it was noted, the BLAST officers saw Girau break into a residence on the block. They met him as soon as he left the location and took him into custody, it was reported.
Various burglary tools and jewelry were found in Girau’s possession when he was arrested, authorities noted.
P.O. Sabrina Inga of the BLAST, with the assistance of other officers supervised by Lt. Robert Rattigan, Capt. Terrence O’Toole and Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti, was credited with the arrest.
The investigation was also conducted, in part, by the 104th, 106th and 112th Precinct Detective Squads.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marnie Lobel of the DA’s Special Proceedings Bureau, which is supervised by Assistant District Attorneys Anthony M. Communiello, bureau chief, and Oscar W. Ruiz, deputy bureau chief.