Serial burglar in Ridgewood & Sunnyside busted after trying to pawn off stolen stuff: DA

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The alleged burglar behind a dozen break-in attempts across Ridgewood and Sunnyside was apprehended this week as he tried to sell some of the stolen valuables to a Brooklyn pawn shop, prosecutors announced on Friday.

Paul Rodriguez, 38, faces multiple counts of burglary, attempted burglary, criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglar’s tools, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal mischief and petit larceny.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, members of the NYPD Queens North Grand Larceny Squad collared Rodriguez on April 5 soon after he ransacked an apartment on 48th Street in Sunnyside. They observed him entering and exiting the building, then followed him to a pawn shop on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, where Rodriguez was allegedly attempting to hock assorted jewelry that was stolen from the Sunnyside apartment.

“Over the span of six months, [Rodriguez] is alleged to have brazenly busted through locked doors and windows to steal the property of others,” Brown said. “Good police work caught the alleged serial burglar in the act of trying to swap the jewelry he’d just stolen for cash at a Brooklyn pawn shop.”

Most of the burglaries took place in the Ridgewood area, according to prosecutors. The incidents are as follows:

  • March 8 on Harman Street: The suspect removed an air conditioner from a window and got inside the home, ransacking it and removing $1,000 in cash as well as a cell phone.
  • March 12 on Himrod Street: The alleged burglar climbed up a fire escape and pried open a rear window to get in and remove a ring valued at $500.
  • March 16 on Centre Street and Catalpa Avenue: Rodriguez allegedly made three different burglary attempts, setting off an alarm at a Centre Street location and unsuccessfully attempting to pry open a door on Catalpa Avenue. He managed to get into a second home on Catalpa Avenue via the fire escape and ransacked an apartment, but removed nothing.
  • March 23 on Seneca Avenue: Rodriguez allegedly climbed up the fire escape and entered an apartment, removing $15,000 in valuables kept in a jewelry box and another $2,800 in cash.

Law enforcement agents said that Rodriguez had attempted to break into four other residences on 48th Street in Sunnyside in additional to the one he ransacked on April 5.

Prosecutors noted that Rodriguez’s DNA matched genetic evidence left on a screwdriver from a home on Harman Street in Ridgewood that was burglarized on Nov. 4, 2016.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, Rodriguez has been ordered held without bail and could spend up to 15 years behind bars if convicted.