Man arrested in Whitestone weekend thefts

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Police from the 109th Precinct are hoping that a recent arrest in the 111th Precinct will put an end to a string of weekend nighttime burglaries that has hit Whitestone homes over the last month.

Last week police were actively seeking leads to help catch whoever was behind six burglaries that had formed a distinct pattern since the beginning of December, and that they expected to continue.

But 111th police apprehended an Asian man leaving a home in the course of a burglary in an undisclosed location at 4 a.m. Saturday morning, and 109th police believe the arrest may put an end to the string of thefts.

“At this time its being investigated that this was the same person who was doing the burglaries in the 109th,” Detective Kevin O’Donnell of the 109th Precinct, which serves Whitestone, said. “We’ll find out, if we don’t see any more burglaries on the weekend, then we’ve got our guy.”

Each of the Whitestone burglaries occurred on a Friday or Saturday night, between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., and was in the area bounded by the Cross-Island Parkway to the north, Utopia Parkway to the east, Bayside Avenue to the south and 150th Street to the west.

The burglaries, which mostly involved cash, were particularly unusual, police said, because they took place when people were at home sleeping. Most burglaries occur during the day, when homeowners and tenants are at work.

Residents of this or any other area can help police stop burglaries by calling 911 to report any unusual or suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, which they can do anonymously if they so choose.

“Burglars are the hardest criminals to catch, so usually we catch them because someone calls us and reports suspicious activity,” Detective Kevin O’Donnell said. “If you feel something strange is going on, most people’s instincts are pretty good and we want that information.”

Suspicious activity residents should be on the lookout for includes strange cars double-parking on the street or parking in front of fire hydrants, suspicious people in neighbors’ back or side yards, and anything else that generally seems out of the ordinary, police said.

In addition to increased vigilance, Crime Prevention Officer Anthony LoVerme suggested ways residents can avoid becoming victims themselves, such as using alarms at all times, including at night while they sleep; installing sensor lights on the sides and backs of homes; locking all windows and doors; removing any air conditioner units from windows and locking them; and always using dead bolts on all doors. Residents should be especially sure to lock their back doors and windows since those have been popular points of entry in the spree.

Residents with questions, concerns or tips regarding this matter may call LoVerme at 718-321-2270, but any suspicious activity should be immediately reported by calling 911.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 5:42 pm, October 10, 2011
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