MANHATTAN — A veteran NYPD Special Victims detective is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly being part a crew of burglars suspected in a string of Long Island break-ins, DNAinfo.com New York has learned.
Detective Rafael "Ray" Astacio, 40, was allegedly caught red-handed with three accomplices rifling a Suffolk County home. He was caught by a task force of cops from Nassau and Suffolk counties, along with federal agents who had been trailing the alleged burglars, according to sources and court records.
Sources told “On The Inside” that Astacio and his crew had been under investigation for “quite a while.” Authorities had bugged their phones, and are currently checking if the crew could be responsible for heists within the city as well as others on Long Island.
“They have been after this ring for a long time,” one law enforcment source said. “There is a list of crimes. These guys were prolific. You don’t wiretap burglars unless there is a mountain of cases.”
Astacio, a 14-year veteran, joined the NYPD Special Victims Division in Manhattan a few years ago after serving in the department’s Vice Squad for several years. The FBI is focused on that tour of duty, taking a hard look at his old cases to determine if he committed any on-duty corrupton when investigating gamblers, prostitutes and fraudsters.
Among the cases he cracked while in SVU, Astacio helped arrest a Queens man charged with raping a drunk woman he kidnapped from Club Marquee in Chelsea.
He was also a mainstay on the NYPD's baseball team for years.
According to sources, Astascio was recently re-assigned within the Special Victims Division to the non-investigative Sex Offenders Monitoring Unit, which keeps an eye on ex-cons on the state’s registry.
The transfer occurred after Astacio became the subject of an NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau inquiry that probed whether he lied in several criminal cases not related to the burglary probe.
A spokesman for the FBI declined comment, as did a spokesman for Nassau DA Kathleen Rice. Astacio's lawyer did not return a call seeking comment.
According to his criminal court complaint, Astacio and his confederates allegedly broke through the rear door of an Oxford Street home in Lindenhurst on June 3 and were caught allegedly grabbing jewelry in the house.
At the time the homeowner, Anastasios Matheos, was attending a Sunday religious service with his family, Matheos told "On The Inside."
“That’s what I get for going to church,” he said.
Matheos said police told him the quartet of thieves was literally caught in the act. “I think they were being followed by police,” he said.
He was correct. The probe was being run out of the Nassau County District Attorney’s office for months, sources said.
Astascio was charged with burglary in the second degree and was released on $2,500 bail.
He is due back in court in August.
His alleged accomplices — Michael Brown, 24, Paul Adams 46, and Joseph Alacqua, 31 — are slated to appear in court in October.
Brown was freed on $100,000 bond. Adams did not post $25,000 and was held in jail. Alacqua, from Ozone Park, Queens, had previously done a drug-related three-year stint in state prison. He was released on $50,000 bail.