College Point criminal back in custody

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A career criminal from College Point who escaped from a Brooklyn hospital while awaiting sentencing for a series of robberies and a murder in Queens was captured in Woodside Saturday after 24 hours on the lam, authorities said.

Michael DiCarluccio, 39, escaped from the custody of U.S. marshals Friday while he was being held in the psychiatric ward of Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn, authorities said.

Authorities are investigating whether DiCarluccio may have had an accomplice in planning his transfer to the hospital, an escape through a bathroom that was being renovated and the flight in a waiting car.

He had pleaded guilty in December 1998 to federal racketeering charges and was awaiting sentencing when he fled.

He was captured at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Northern Boulevard and 51st Street, authorities said.

"No one was injured" during the course of his escape, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy Philips, who prosecuted his case.

This was not the first time DiCarluccio had given his captors the slip. He has a long rap sheet dating back to the late 1970s, all in the 109th Precinct, which covers Flushing, Whitestone and College Point, Philip said.

DiCarluccio was convicted in 1989 of criminal possession of a weapon after shooting at three police officers, said Sherry Hunter, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

While he was awaiting sentencing for that crime, he escaped from Riker's Island by hiding in a garbage truck and was caught three days later.

He was sentenced to several years in prison for that crime, but that was the last time the Queens courts had jurisdiction over him, Hunter said.

Once he was released, DiCarluccio became involved in a somewhat more organized crime ring, whose crimes were prosecuted by federal officials, Philips said.

"He was part of a loose-knit group of about three people," she said. "I wouldn't call it organized crime. There were also people who would come and go from the group."

DiCarluccio admitted to a murder and six bank robberies at four banks in Queens during 1996 and early 1997: the Greenpoint Savings Bank on Union Street in Flushing; the Citibank on 10th Avenue in Whitestone; the Jamaica Savings Bank on 188th Street in Fresh Meadows; and the Greenpoint Savings Bank on 14th Avenue in College Point.

He was indicted on federal racketeering charges for those crimes as well as the robbery and murder of Eli Shabtai of Fresh Meadows, whose body was found on the Grand Central Parkway in Holliswood.

Although he had pleaded guilty to the crimes in December 1998, a series of appeals by his defense attorney delayed his sentencing, Philips said.

"We were waiting to see what was going to happen," Philips said.

He will be sentenced on April 28, and faces a sentence of 30 years to life in prison, Philips said. The escape attempt may lengthen his sentence.

Two weeks ago, U.S. marshals transferred DiCarluccio to Lutheran Hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. He was under the watch of private security guards at the hospital when he escaped.

The U.S. marshals office will be investigating the incident.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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