UPDATE: String of commercial burglaries on Bell Boulevard believed to be part of larger pattern

Bayside burglaries (2)
Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS

Updated Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m. 

As investigations into a string of reported commercial break-ins at Bayside businesses in late November continue, police are looking into a few leads.

On Dec. 5, the 111th Precinct Commander William McBride told residents at a Community Council meeting that while there have been no arrests, the NYPD’s probe into six commercial burglaries that took place along Bell Boulevard has unearthed some leads.

The perpetrators hit three businesses at 38th Avenue and three at 42nd Avenue in the early hours of morning on Nov. 20, according to police. Each of the businesses filed reports with the 111th Precinct.

McBride said the perpetrators hit the businesses within about a two-hour period, between 5 and 7 a.m. The precinct’s Detective Squad is now working with the Queens South Grand Larceny Division on the investigation into the crimes, which authorities believe are related “to a pattern of crimes going on around the city.”

The investigation is ongoing and the precinct has increased nighttime patrols in and around Bell Boulevard and other commercial areas within the command in response to the incidents, McBride said.

On Nov. 21, a law enforcement source told QNS that authorities have identified the two suspects involved in the incidents as a male and a female, each wearing ski masks. The perpetrators kicked in the back doors of each location to gain access.

Photo courtesy of NYPD
Photo courtesy of NYPD

The string of burglaries on Nov. 20 included the following crimes:

  • Perpetrators break into Sterling Pharmacy at 38-01, Bell Blvd., through a back door and stole $2,000 and prescription medications.
  • Neighboring Tanko Japanese Fusion at 38-05 Bell Blvd. broken into through a rear door.  A total of $500 in cash was stolen.
  • Suspects break into Michael’s Place Salon at 38-07 Bell Blvd. through a rear door. Nothing was stolen from this location.
  • Perpetrators break into Bb’s Packaging & Shipping at 42-06A Bell Blvd. through a rear door. The perpetrators stole $600 from this location.
  • Neighboring H&R Block at 42-04 Bell Blvd. is broken into through a rear door. No property was removed from this location.
  • Perpetrators broke into Paradise Furniture at 42-02 Bell Blvd. through a rear door. They removed $1,000 worth of tools from the location.

Burglars are targeting businesses after hours of operation, police said.

Sterling Pharmacy owner Chris Tsatsaronis said he was alerted to the burglary by his alarm company. Surveillance footage revealed perpetrators entering through a basement rear door at 7 a.m., taking cash and some prescription medications and exiting 11 minutes later.

“They could have taken a lot more,” Tsatsaronis said. “It’s a big question mark.”

On Nov. 21, authorities from the precinct were seen on Bell Boulevard handing out flyers to local business owners alerting them to the crimes.

Christine Silletti, executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), said the organization sent out a security alert based on information provided by the NYPD to local businesses shortly after the incidents.

Police are asking business owners in the surrounding area to check that windows and doors on all floors, including upper and basement stories, are secure, as well as any ladders, furniture and tools on the premises.

Rear and side areas of businesses should be illuminated and cash left inside of businesses overnight should be secured in a safe that can be bolted to the floor, police said. Owners are asked to install a commercial burglary alarm and check all alarms and security cameras to ensure they are functioning properly.

Anyone with information in regards to any of the incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

Those with tips can also contact Detective Milton Calix of the 111th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-279-5282.

Robert Pozarycki contributed to the report.