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'Ninja' Burglar Apologizes and Says He Has No Martial Arts Training

By Nicholas Rizzi | April 25, 2016 3:05pm
 Robert Costanzo, 46, dubbed the
Robert Costanzo, 46, dubbed the "Ninja Burglar," apologized to his victim's in a taped confession, but denied actually being a ninja.
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Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel

STATEN ISLAND — The "Ninja Burglar" has absolutely no training in martial arts.

The revelation was made as Robert Costanzo, 46 apologized to his victims for "all the chaos and destruction" caused when he broke into more than 100 homes during a 10-year crimewave.

"This is going to seem like a silly question, but are you a ninja?" a prosecutor asked him during his confession, a recording of which was acquired by the Staten Island Advance.

"No," he answered.

Costanzo, who will spend 25 years behind bars for the break-in spree, said he hoped his more than 100 victims would understand that he only turned to crime to support his family, according to the taped testimony.

"I only used it as a means of survival as far as financially with my children, my family members that I help support," he said.

"I'm truly sorry for my actions and hope that people can understand and come to terms that I didn't mean anything truly negative by it."

His lawyer, John Stawicki, said after Costanzo's conviction last week that his client returned to a life a crime after he lost his job as an elevator technician. He'd previously been convicted of burglary and rape.

From 2005 to 2015, Costanzo broke into more than 100 homes in Staten Island alone — though officers believe the number to be closer to 160. He was only charged with three of them because of the statue of limitations.

In his taped confession, Costanzo told prosecutors that he couldn't be sure of the number because he never kept a tally of how many homes he targeted.

He usually broke into the home while the owners were inside and wore all black with his face covered, resembling a ninja, District Attorney Michael McMahon said.

The "Ninja Burglar" nickname started after a 2007 burglary where a Dongan Hills resident said he came face to face with a nunchuck-wielding burglar, but police did not tie Costanzo to that crime.

In his confession, Costanzo said he was aware of the name but never used it himself nor was he actually trained as a ninja, he said.

Costanzo is due back in court on June 14 to be officially sentenced.