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Thieves break into Van Bramer’s Sunnyside home

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (l.) is working with the 108th Precinct to address a pattern of burglaries, one of which recently struck the Sunnyside home he shares with partner Dan Hendrick (r.).
TimesLedger Newspapers

A city councilman from Sunnyside said he would be working with the 108th Precinct to step up patrols in residential areas after his home joined the list of those that had been broken into recently.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) represents Sunnyside and returned from an overseas vacation this week to find his home burglarized, he said.

Van Bramer said he was first tipped off when one of his next-door neighbors called him up to let him know that some doors and back windows were suspiciously left open at his home. They notified the police before going in to inspect the damage and finding the thieves had gotten away with a bike, some money and some of jewelry the councilman was holding on to for his mother.

“The front door was pretty busted. They used a crowbar to break in and damaged a few of the other doors as well,” Van Bramer said. “My closets and dresser drawers were emptied and thrown on the floor. The contents of everything were just tossed around.”

“It’s pretty upsetting to come home and see your house vandalized and burglarized that way,” Van Bramer said. “I’m sure that is the same feeling everyone gets in a similar situation.”

Van Bramer said there has been a recurring pattern of home break-ins throughout his western Queens district, which includes Astoria and Long Island City as well. He could recall at least one of his constituents’ stories of confronting a burglar who was in their home and chasing them away in recent weeks.

“This is pretty dangerous territory,” he said. “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The councilman said he was working with the 108th Precinct, which had reported a pattern of similar burglaries throughout the neighborhood. In response, the precinct has been upping its presence in some of the hardest-hit residential areas with hopes of cuffing the culprits, he said.

The most recent 108th Precinct crime statistics through Aug. 4 showed burglaries were up from 10 to 17 when comparing last year’s numbers to date with 2013. Burglary was one of four major crime categories to increase when compared to 2012, including murder, up from zero to one; grand larceny, up from 39 to 60; and grand larceny auto, up from eight to 16. Overall crime incidents to date rose from 93 to 120, or 29 percent, compared to this point last year, records showed.

Van Bramer said he would be looking for ways to improve public safety in the district with hopes of curbing the trend.

“Doors can be fixed. Things can be replaced,” Van Bramer said. “What’s really important now is that we prevent this from happening to any other families.”

Nonetheless, Van Bramer said he and his husband Dan Hendrick were fine and would not be shaken by the incident.

“I love my home, I love my neighborhood and I always will,” he said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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