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Massive Stash of Jewels, Electronics Found in Burglary Suspect's Home

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | October 17, 2013 4:27pm
 Capt. Thomas Conforti (left) awarded Sgt. Frank Crocitto (center) P.O. Christopher Lipton with the precinct’s Cop of The Month citation.
Capt. Thomas Conforti (left) awarded Sgt. Frank Crocitto (center) P.O. Christopher Lipton with the precinct’s Cop of The Month citation.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — More than 200 pieces of jewelry and electronics from Queens homes, including four in Forest Hills, were found at the house of a Brooklyn man who was nabbed for a burglary in the neighborhood, authorities said Wednesday. 

Mario Girau, 28, of Cypress Hills, was arrested after he broke into a home on Tahoe Street in Ozone Park on Sept. 19, at about 8:25 p.m., police said.

Girau has only been charged with that crime, but there was a string of break-ins around Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills in which the suspect drove the same car, a Chrysler Pacifica. That pattern of crimes has since stopped, cops said.

Two police officers from the 112th Precinct — Sgt. Frank Crocitto and Officer Christopher Lipton — spotted his car earlier that week in Forest Hills, said Capt. Thomas Conforti, the precinct's commanding officer at a Community Council meeting Wednesday night.

The officers, he said, were investigating a string of burglaries around Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, in which the suspect also drove a Chrysler Pacifica.

Once they spotted the car, they parked two blocks away and watched the suspect pacing around a house, Conforti said. They also noted his license plate number.

The officers called for support and later followed the man to Ozone Park where they allegedly watched him break into the Tahoe Street home and arrested him soon after.

Police found jewelry in his pants' pocket, according to the complaint. They also allegedly found jewelry on the floor of his vehicle.

Investigators, who obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s house, found more than 200 electronic and jewelry items from at least four burglaries in the Forest Hills area and from four burglaries in other areas of Queens, police sources said.

Conforti, who awarded Crocitto and Lipton with the precinct’s Cop of The Month citation, said the items, including iPads and TV sets, were traced back to burglaries in the 112th, the 107th, the 104th and the 106th precincts. The burglaries have stopped since Girau's arrest.

The suspect, who has been charged with the Ozone Park burglary only, has a history of arrests for burglary and attempted burglary, dating back to 2006.

Girau's lawyer did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Conforti also said that overall crime in the precinct has dropped by almost 8 percent this year.