Three men sentenced in burglary scam targeting elderly Queens homeowners

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Three men who targeted elderly Queens homeowners in a burglary scheme were sentenced to prison after previously pleading guilty to charges, the Queens District Attorney’s office announced Friday.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas sentenced the defendants — Michael Stacker, 55, of Staten Island, Michael Miller, 51, of Green Bay, Wis., and Robert Migule, 70, of New Jersey — for their roles in their scheme, in which they posed as “Water Department” employees in order to gain access to homes, according to Acting Queens District Attorney John M. Ryan. Once inside, they distracted the victims and searched for valuables.

“The defendants saw these elderly ladies as easy marks – residents they could con into gaining them access to their homes so they could steal cash and other valuables,” Ryan said. “Unfortunately for the defendants, the victims subsequently realized that something was not right and, as a result of their tenacity, all three defendants were apprehended and are now serving time behind bars for their crimes.”

According to the charges, Miller approached the Long Island City home of an 84-year-old woman as she was looking out of the window. Miller said he had been working next door and needed to check her home’s water pressure. Once inside, Miller distracted the woman, went to a different part of the house, and returned five minutes later, telling her everything was fine. The woman checked her home and noticed that two locked safety deposit boxes had been pried open, but did not find any valuables missing.

Stacker and Migule visited a 79-year-old woman’s College Point home on Feb. 23, 2018, claiming that they were from the “Water Department,” according to charges. Stacker said the water inside the woman’s home could be contaminated and that the only way to know for certain  was to check the water from inside the home.  Once given access to the home, Stacker had the victim turn the water on in the kitchen and to watch if the water changed colors.

Soon after, Stacker left the kitchen, according to the charges, at which point the homeowner began hearing noises coming from the direction of her living room.  She started to investigate when Migule entered the kitchen, identified himself as Stacker’s supervisor and instructed her to move the faucet lever around, insisting that there was contaminated water in the area.  At this point, the homeowner asked to see Migule’s identification and he showed her a card with the name “Jeff Lopez” on it but no company name. The woman was told to keep the water running and they would let her know when everything was all right.

When Stacker and Migule did not return to the kitchen, she searched for them in the house only to find that they were not around. According to charges, she checked to see if anything was missing and found that $300 was missing from her coat pocket.

Police officers who happened to be in the area at the time, saw Stacker and Migule exit the property and, according to charges, noticed that Migule was concealing something inside his jacket.

Zayas sentenced Stacker to six years in prison, Miller to five years, and Migule to three-and-a-half years in prison. After serving their time behind bars, Stacker and Miller will be on five years’ post-release supervision and Migule on 2 ½ years’ post-release supervision.

“I urge everyone, especially senior citizens, to always be diligent when someone comes knocking,” Ryan said. “Always check credentials and  call utilities if you are the least bit suspicious.  Remember, you can always say ‘no’ to someone seeking entry to your home.”

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