PARK SLOPE — Cops used a helicopter to search for a suspected burglar in Park Slope Thursday morning in hopes of catching a thief who may be responsible for a string of burglaries, a police source said.
The chopper was deployed after a man tried to break into an apartment on Eighth Avenue and Eighth Street. A woman who was home in the apartment heard the would-be burglar, the source said. "She spooked him and he ran into the backyard," the source said.
The attempted burglary was the third such incident in the area within the last three weeks, and investigators believe one thief could be responsible for all of the break-ins, said Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, commanding officer of the 78th Precinct. It wasn't immediately how many of the break-ins resulted in stolen property.
Ameri urged residents to call 911 as soon as possible if they spot anyone in their backyard or on a fire escape. "Don't hesitate," Ameri said.
Cops scoured rooftops and decks of buildings near the break-in, including a pair of abandoned apartment houses on Ninth Street and Eighth Avenue, neighbors said.
Neighbor Michael Katz was at home in the same building where the break-in happened when he spotted a police officer in his back yard about 10:30 a.m. "He told me someone had broken in five minutes ago," Katz said.
Burglaries are down 20.8 percent so far this year in the 78th Precinct, which covers Park Slope, Prospect Park, the Barclays Center and parts of Gowanus. There have been 99 burglaries reported this year, compared with 125 during the same period in 2012, according to NYPD stats.
The 78th Precinct recently awarded "cop of the month" honors to two officers who caught a burglar at Eighth Avenue and Union Street in late August. The thief was a repeat offender who had 17 prior burglaries on his record, Ameri said at a recent 78th Precinct Community Council meeting.