By Emily Davenport
A plumbing pilferer who tinkered with toilets at several Queens fast food restaurants to steal valuable parts was thrown in the can last week, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.
Richard Mirabile, 44, of Congers, was charged on Dec. 28 with third-degree burglary, third- and fourth-degree criminal mischief, petit larceny and attempted petit larceny. Bail was set at $25,000 and Mirabile was ordered to return to court on Jan. 9, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced Monday.
According to the charges, on eight separate occasions between Nov. 23, 2018, and Dec. 28, 2018, Mirabile was spotted on surveillance footage or in person entering a restaurant’s bathroom and leaving moments later with a bag full of items. After Mirabile left each establishment, employees noticed that the toilets’ flushing mechanisms were missing.
At 12:53 p.m. on Nov. 23, prosecutors said Mirabile entered a Wendy’s restaurant — located at 61-11 Fresh Pond Road in Middle Village — and went toward the men’s bathroom, where he was out of view from surveillance footage for a few minutes, with a bag in hand.
After Mirabile left the facility, the manager entered the restroom and found that the automatic flushing fixtures on both the men’s toilet and the urinal were missing.
Mirabile allegedly returned to the same Wendy’s on Nov. 26 and stole more flushing mechanisms, according to prosecutors.
The pattern allegedly continued on Dec. 7 when, at around 4 p.m., Mirabile was allegedly seen entering the bathroom of a Burger King — located at 33-10 Astoria Blvd. in Astoria — carrying a shoulder bag. Ten minutes later, Mirabile reportedly left the establishment with the flushing mechanisms from the men’s room toilet and urinal. Mirabile allegedly repeated this theft at the same Burger King on Dec. 28, prosecutors said.
On Dec. 10-11, surveillance footage allegedly shows Mirabile at an Arby’s on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village and at a Wendy’s on Metropolitan Avenue in Rego Park. In both instances, Mirabile allegedly entered and exited the restaurants’ unisex restrooms. Soon after Mirabile’s visit, workers discovered that the flush fixtures were gone, according to prosecutors.
Finally, on Dec. 26, Mirabile allegedly stole the toilet flushing mechanisms from the Bean N Bean coffee shop in Flushing and another Arby’s in Fresh Meadows. Each toilet flush fixture is valued at approximately $250.
“The defendant in this case stopped into various restaurants in Queens County – not for food, but for toilet flush fixtures,” said Brown. “Bypassing the counter to order a quick meal, the defendant allegedly made a bee-line for the restrooms and exited minutes later with toilet flush fixtures stuffed in a bag. Some restaurants were allegedly hit twice by the plumbing plunderer. The defendant will now face the legal consequences for these alleged acts.”