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One Manhattan Block Hit With 8 Home Burglaries in Single Month, Police Say

By Noah Hurowitz | February 17, 2016 4:36pm
 East 21st Street, between Third and Second Street, in the 13th Precinct.
East 21st Street, between Third and Second Street, in the 13th Precinct.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

KIPS BAY — There have been eight home burglaries in apartments along one block of East 25th Street in the past month — feeding a general spike in the number of burglaries in the area.

Burglaries in the 13th Precinct — which covers Gramercy, Kips Bay, Stuy Town and part of Union Square — have increased by more than 100 percent in the last 28-day period, compared to the same time last year, according to the Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct

There were 22 burglaries in the past month this year, compared to 11 for the same period last year. And nearly half of those took place on a single block on East 25th Street between Second and Third avenues, Timoney said.

Many of the break-ins were preventable, and occurred after residents left windows or doors unlocked, according to Timoney. And in some cases, ground-floor doors left unlocked by supers or work crews gave burglars access to entire blocks through backyards and fire escapes, he said.

“It’s all about locking windows and doors,” Timoney said during a Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday night, though he couldn't immediately provide specifics on individual incidents.

The number of break-ins were also up year to date compared to last year, with 37 since Jan. 1 this year and only 17 last year, according to statistics from police.

In Murray Hill, one burglar is suspected in at least six recent break-ins in the neighborhood, according to police.

The suspect — who police said has repeatedly climbed into apartments via fire escapes and unlocked windows — stole electronics, a bike, and jewelry from several apartments during the spree, which lasted from Dec. 15 to at least Jan. 29, according to police reports.

Officers have arrested several people suspected of multiple burglaries in the area, including Angel Ortiz, 62, who was arrested on Jan. 17 after slipping through an unlocked window into the bedroom of an apartment on East 17th Street in Gramercy, according to a police report.

Ortiz, who had been out on parole for less than a year after his release from a 12-year bid for a previous burglary, fled the building after surprising the victim, who was home at the time, but an eagle-eyed neighbor spotted the suspect, called 911, and followed him to the corner of East 19th Street and Third Avenue, where police swooped in and arrested him, according to police.

Ortiz, who Timoney said is a suspect in other burglaries, is currently being held at Manhattan Detention Complex on $15,000 bail, and is due back in court on Thursday, records show. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.