QUEENS — A Staten Island man is facing up to seven years in prison for stealing more than $40,000 in cash and merchandise from several Queens stores, cutting holes in the buildings' roofs or walls to get inside, officials said.
Hector Rodriguez, 38, of New Brighton — who was also indicted in October for a separate string of 15 commercial break-ins on Staten Island — was arraigned Tuesday on burglary, grand larceny and other charges, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Prosecutors say he broke into six grocery stores and bodegas in Queens Village, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona and Jamaica between October of 2015 and August of this year, where he stole tens of thousands of dollars in cash, cartons of cigarettes, lottery tickets and other items.
Rodriguez gained entry to the shops by cutting a hole in the roof or ripping a hole in the back wall of the buildings, and was caught on surveillance video in each of the break-ins carrying a crowbar and a flashlight, officials said.
"The defendant is accused of brazenly burglarizing various businesses by literally breaking into the buildings — creating holes in rooftops and/or walls to get inside," Brown said in a statement. "The defendant is now facing prison time for these alleged acts."
Rodriguez was indicted on 15 charges Tuesday, including five counts of third-degree burglary, one count of petit larceny, four counts of third-degree grand larceny, four counts of third-degree criminal mischief and one count of third-degree attempted burglary.
He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, officials said. His defense attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The defendant is also facing slew of similar charges for a series of 15 burglaries on Staten Island between January and September of this year, when officials say he broke into a number of businesses including restaurants, a butcher's shop, a shoe store and a pet groomer.
Those thefts included stealing $5,000 in cash and more than $700 worth of cigarettes from a deli on Victory Boulevard and Manor Road, as well as three watches and three necklaces from an apparel store in Stapleton, according to a criminal complaint.
He was indicted for the Staten Island burglaries in October, for which he's facing 14 counts of third-degree burglary and one count of third-degree attempted burglary. That case is currently pending in court, according to the Richmond County District Attorney's Office.