Burglary spree across Queens ends in arrests

The Promise Christian Academy in Flushing is one of a number of locations Raheim West allegedly burglarized, according to the Queens district attorney. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Two Queens men were arrested last weekend and charged separately in a rash of burglaries that were committed across the borough over the last six months, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Raheim West, 37, of Long Island City, and Randolph Ardila, 29, of Maspeth, allegedly participated in a number of burglaries hitting a range of targets in a long list of neighborhoods, the DA said.

“According to the charges, nobody was safe from the crimes allegedly perpetrated by the defendants,” Queens DA Richard Brown said.

West faces charges which include burglary and grand larceny, according to four criminal complaints filed by the DA’s office.

He was observed on video breaking into a church in Flushing Sept. 7, 2013, and stealing $2,750 in cash that had been placed in a locked drawer inside a locked office, one of the complaints said.

On the afternoon of Feb. 7, West was caught on video taking $160 from a social worker’s purse at a community center in Flushing, a second complaint said.

West is also believed to have burglarized residential buildings in Corona in February, according to the third and fourth complaints.

Police arrested West near the Boune Streets Community Center in Corona Feb. 22 and found pry marks on the doors of the center’s locked offices, the fourth complaint said.

West was carrying a pry bar, a screwdriver, work gloves and two envelopes with $310 stolen from the community center in his car when he was arrested, the DA said.

He is next due to appear in court March 10 and could face up to 28 years if convicted, the DA’s office said.

In the second case, police arrested Ardila Feb. 21 when he was allegedly acting as a lookout while two unapprehended suspects tried to burglarize residences in Glendale and Ridgewood, according to a criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office.

Ardila was then observed by police later the same afternoon allegedly acting as a lookout outside an Ozone Park building as three people left, two carrying bags, got into a gray BMW and drove off, the complaint said.

Before he made his getaway in a Honda, the officer who was watching Ardila, arrested him and found he had a screwdriver and a container full of change, which belonged to a resident of the building, the complaint said.

Police also recovered a box containing the cremated remains of a resident’s mother from the Honda, according to the complaint.

Ardila was charged with burglary, attempted burglary, possession of burglar’s tools and criminal possession of stolen property, the DA said.

He was arraigned Sunday and was set to appear in court March 10 and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Both arrests were a result of an investigation by the NYPD’s Burglary Larceny Apprehension Suppression Team, which works undercover to investigate patterns of burglaries.

“While the defendants will be held accountable for their alleged actions, businesses and residents should take adequate precautions by inspecting their premises to see if there is a need for added security,” Brown said.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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