Burglaries Spike in 112th Precinct Amid Rash of Fire Escape Break-Ins
QUEENS — A brazen burglar targeting buildings along Queens Boulevard in Rego Park and Forest Hills has broken into at least two dozen apartments during the past six months using fire escapes, authorities said.
The string of 25 burglaries began in the neighborhood in September 2013. In each case the thief, who may have an accomplice, broke into apartments through open or unlocked windows adjacent to fire escapes and stole electronics, cash and jewelry,
In many cases, the burglar broke into several apartments in a row, said Capt. Thomas Conforti, commanding officer of the 112 Precinct, which covers the area.
The rash of break-ins has helped catapult the number of burglaries in the 112th Precinct by more than 140 percent this year, according to statistics provided by the NYPD.
There have been 29 break-ins in the neighborhood from the beginning of the year until Feb. 9. During the same period last year there were 12 burglaries.
The latest spree began when the suspect hit a building on Queens Boulevard, between 67th and 68th drives, on Sept. 8.
In that case, the thief climbed the fire escape in the rear of the building, entered through an open kitchen window and stole jewelry, police said.
Another apartment in the building was burglarized on Sept. 24 when the prowler stole about $2,000.
Then on Oct. 6, the burglar swiped $3,000 and an iPad from another apartment on 71st Road and Queens Boulevard.
The suspect also struck on Oct. 12, breaking into a building located on 71st Avenue, between Queens Boulevard and 110th Street, to steal watches, jewelry and a MacBook Pro, authorities said.
Conforti also said that the burglar is very reactive to police deployment, shifting locations after extra officers are sent to areas experiencing break-ins.
After burglarizing several apartments in Rego Park, the thief later hit an area located more than a dozen blocks away, near a Key Food on 71st Road in Forest Hills, only to then target buildings on 102nd Street at 67th Avenue.
The most recent burglaries occurred on Jan. 29 in three buildings on 76th Road, between Queens Boulevard and Austin Street, when the thief broke into five apartments between 6 and 8 p.m., police said.
Heidi Chain, president of the 112th Precinct Community Council, urged residents to “lock their windows that are near fire escapes.”
“Do not be a victim,” she said.
“If you see someone walking on fire escapes give us a call right away,” Conforti noted