ONE BURGLAR TAKEN DOWN
Suspect Caught For Forest Hills Break-Ins
Police have made an arrest in connection with a string of burglaries that hit a small part of Forest Hills in February and March, officials said during a public safety meeting held by the 112th Precinct Community Council at P.S. 174 in Rego Park on Monday night, May 6.
The individual was a “career criminal” who lived in the sixsquare block section of Forest Hills that saw nine residential break-ins in about six weeks earlier this year, according to Capt. Thomas Conforti, the precinct’s commanding officer.
Conforti withheld certain details about the suspect, noting that the investigation is still ongoing.
He suggested the precinct has its eye on other suspects.
“If there’s an ongoing investigation, that investigation will probably lead to further arrests,” he said.
The suspect police nabbed could be put in jail for life due to his history, according to Jim Evangelou, an assistant district attorney for the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office and the bureau chief of the DA’s Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau.
City Council Member Karen Koslowitz praised Conforti and the 112th Precinct before the meeting.
“We’re in very good hands,” she said.“Whenever something happens in this community, they pick up the phone; they call me. It doesn’t matter what day of the week or what time, we always know what’s going on in this community.”
Conforti, who has been commanding the precinct since August 2012, has a history busting burglars.
He was an officer on one of the first burglary teams in New York City, rose to burglary sergeant in the 43rd precinct, and years later, he became the commanding officer of the Queens North Anti-Crime, Burglary team, according to Heidi Harrison Chain, president of the 112 Precinct Community Council.
During the meeting, P.O. Robert Semler gave a safety presentation, offering the following tips for residents to keep their dwellings safe:
• Check your mail daily, and when going out of town, have a friend or neighbor get your mail. Burglars see mail piling up and assume no one is home.
• Keep an eye on who’s hanging out in front of your home. Crooks often case a house for weeks before hitting it. “You may not know who’s there, but I guarantee: They know when you’re leaving,” Semler said.
• Bolt in window unit air conditioners, otherwise intruders can push them into your home and slip through the window.
• Invest in a security system.
• Get an NYPD security survey of your home—they’re free and help you identify weak points in your security.
• Keep music or the television on when you’re not home so it appears there is someone in the house. “You always hear the music in my house— I like to give people the feeling that I’m home,” Semler said.
• Don’t leave tools in your yard. Rakes, ladders and cinder blocks can all potentially aid a burglar in breaking into a home. Put them in your basement or get a storage unit, Semler advised.
• Keep money and jewelry in banks and safe-deposit boxes. Semler said he’s heard stories of people losing tens of thousands of dollars in cash they kept in their homes. “I’d be depressed forever—that’s a lot of money to lose,” he joked.
• Don’t open door for people, even if they say their from organizations like Con Edison or the NYPD, unless they can produce ID—they could be impersonating officials to gain entry to your home. Check to see whether they came in a vehicle that belongs to the organization they say they’re with.
• If you live in an apartment, don’t buzz in strangers.
• Make sure your car is parked in a well-lit area.
• Carry your wallet in a front pocket—its tougher to pickpocket.
• “There’s nothing wrong with calling 911 if you see something that doesn’t look right,” Semler said.