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Monserrate reports office break-in

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City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst), said intruders forced open a rear window at his office at 32-37 Junction Blvd., taking a laptop computer belonging to his chief of staff and half a box of City Council envelopes. Monserrate said the break-in was politically motivated, but declined to say if he suspected anyone."I'm not going to point any fingers," he said.Monserrate said the burglars ignored several other computers with flat-screen monitors and a TV with a DVD player."The burglars specifically went through my desk and files, and my chief of staff's desk and files," he said, asking anyone who receives a suspicious letter on City Council stationery to contact his office.The burglary occurred just as the 2008 race for state government seats is set to take off. Monserrate is again likely to challenge state Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights). Sabini has won re-election twice before, once in 2004, against Luis Rosero, whom Monserrate endorsed, and in 2006 against Monserrate.In August 2006, during the last contest, Sabini's office was broken into. Those burglars made off with two desktop computers being used for the campaign, Sabini's staff said.Monserrate, too, has been the target of break-ins before at both his City Council office and his campaign office, he said. But in those incidents, he said, the burglars were after electronics and other valuables.The councilman is also no stranger to trouble during political campaigns. In 2003, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown charged a 55-year-old man volunteering for a challenger's campaign with threatening the lives of Monserrate and several of his aides. The suspect was found not guilty in 2005.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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