EAST VILLAGE — A burglar who was caught stealing thousands of dollars worth of electronics from an East Village apartment tried to flee using the fire escape — but he wound up plummeting five stories and landed in the hospital with serious injuries, police said.
Derrick Williams, 20, who is suspected in other burglaries in the area, broke both his legs and an arm and fractured his skull when he fell from an East 2nd Street fire escape about 4 a.m. Oct. 27, carrying a load of stolen goods, police said.
Williams spent two weeks in a medically induced coma at Bellevue Hospital before waking up, police said.
"If it was anyone else, they would have died," said Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann, commanding officer of the 9th Precinct, saying that Williams was lucky to survive a five-floor fall.
Williams, a Brooklyn resident, had tried to steal $6,843 worth of goods, including two MacBook computers, an Xbox, an iPad, an iPad Mini, a North Face backpack, sunglasses and watches from the apartment, according to police and the criminal complaint.
But the resident of the apartment came home in the middle of the burglary, startling Williams, who tried to get away with the stolen items using the fire escape, Cappelmann said.
Williams was charged with burglary and criminal possession of stolen property, police said.
Cappelmann said he suspects Williams also committed several other recent burglaries in the area, since he was released in September after spending a year in prison. He had previously been arrested 17 times, including for at least two felony assaults, Cappelmann said. In one of those assaults, a police officer was injured while trying to arrest Williams, police said.
Police are now investigating whether Williams also committed an Oct. 25 burglary in which the suspect took a brand-new pair of Asolo hiking boots from an East 14th Street apartment and left his own shoes behind at the scene, Cappelmann said.
When he was arrested on Oct. 27, Williams was wearing Asolo hiking boots, Cappelmann said.
"We know it's him, but we need to prove it in the court of law," said Cappelmann, adding that the boots were being tested for DNA.
Williams was held without bail and is expected to undergo a psychiatric exam, according to the DA's office.
He is due in court on Dec. 16, the DA's office said.
A lawyer assigned to Williams' case, Tori Messina, declined to comment.