Burglaries in Ridgewood & Maspeth fuel crime spike, but precinct boss sees downturn coming

Photos by Anthony Giudice/QNS

Over the past few months, the 104th Precinct has seen a spike in burglaries, but the precinct’s commander is confident that those numbers will soon drop thanks to the arrests of two serial burglars that have been plaguing the area.

Deputy Inspector Mark Wachter told residents at Tuesday’s 104th Precinct Community Council (104PCC) in Glendale that the command has seen a nearly 10 percent increase in crime from last month. That spike, he said, is being fueled by “probably over 100 burglaries between Maspeth and Ridgewood” over the last 3 1/2 months.

The precinct, however, was able to arrest two burglars over the last two weeks who have been committing dozens of burglaries around the neighborhoods.

“People who do burglaries, a lot of times, you go out to work and make an honest living, these people wake up in the morning and decide they’re going to break into someone’s house,” Wachter said. “They’ll do it two, three, four times. Then they don’t get caught, and they keep doing it.”

One of those individuals was Edwin Rivera, the homeless man who was arrested for breaking into several homes around the area of Linden and Woodbine streets in Ridgewood.

“It’s a huge success story,” Wachter said about Rivera’s arrest. “This person, I said, probably, honestly around 100 burglaries, easy, this person has committed throughout the months in Ridgewood.”

The other burglar that the precinct collared is connected to at least 26 burglaries, but officials believe that he could be the cause of about 75 total burglaries.

“We’re going to finish up the year in burglaries because of what we’ve talked about in the last three months,” Wachter admitted. “But I’m very confident with these two people in custody that we’re going to start off the new year very good.”

Another reason for the increase in crime in the precinct was the five bank robberies that took place last month. The 104th Precinct was able to cuff one robber who was responsible for two bank robberies in the precinct.

Wacther also warned everyone to be aware of scams, especially during the holiday season.

One officer who has been instrumental in spreading scam prevention literature and getting information out quickly to the public by updating the precinct’s social media pages, including their Twitter account, is the command’s Auxiliary Coordinator, Police Officer Matthew Santos, who was awarded the Cop of the Month Award.