Notorious Flushing squatter indicted for illegal occupancy and other crimes: DA

While Northeast Queens homeowners have rallied against squatters in their properties, like this one in Bayside, the Queens DA’s office launched an investigation into one of the offenders, who was arraigned on Thursday.
Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

While homeowners across Northeast Queens have rallied against squatters in their properties in recent months, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz launched an investigation against one of the most notorious offenders.

On Thursday, she announced a Queens grand jury indicted Brian Rodriguez, 35, of 161st Street in East Flushing, for illegally occupying a Flushing home.

Rodriguez was arraigned Thursday in Queens Supreme Court on a five-count indictment charging him with burglary, grand larceny and other crimes for allegedly squatting in a Flushing home while renting rooms out to others.

When the homeowner regained access to the property and changed the locks, Rodriguez forced himself back inside the home and claimed he was the legal tenant but had no proof, according to the DA.

“Criminal charges will be pursued when you unlawfully occupy someone else’s home,” Katz said. “You cannot just enter a home and claim you have the right to stay.”

According to the charges, on Feb. 17, Adele Andaloro made a regularly scheduled stop to check on the 160th Street home she inherited from her father in 2004 and found that the front door lock had been changed without her permission. She had last visited the home on Jan. 21 and her property was unoccupied and the lock had not been changed. Over the course of the next several days, Andaloro observed Rodriguez inside the home. She had never met him or permitted him to access the property.

On Feb. 19, when confronted by Andaloro, Rodriguez claimed that he was leasing the property but did not specify the leasing company, individual or agent. Ten days later, Andaloro observed several other individuals staying in her house without permission. After one of the occupants left the location with the front door ajar, Andaloro entered the property and observed several other new locks had been added to the front door.

She called a locksmith and immediately changed the locks. Later that same day, Rodriguez came to the location and forced his way into the home by pushing the door open as Andaloro struggled to keep the door closed while ordering him to leave the premises.

When police from the 109th Precinct in Flushing responded to the scene, Rodriguez claimed that he was the legal tenant being harassed by the owner to unlawfully evict him. Police removed Andaloro from the property.

Andaloro met with the Queens District Attorney’s office and an investigation was launched by its Housing and Worker Protection Bureau. Following the grand jury indictment secured by the DA’s office, Rodriguez surrendered to the DA’s Detective Bureau on Thursday morning.

“You cannot first enter a home without permission, then stay without permission and later claim vested rights simply because the legitimate owner is unaware or has been unable to remove you for 30 days,” Katz said. “The defendant in this case is alleged to have entered and stayed in the home unlawfully. He has now been charged with burglary and grand larceny.”

Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino ordered Rodriguez to stay away from Andaloro and her property and set his next court appearance for May 13. Rodriguez faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.