Written by Hicksville Illustrated News Staff, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:00
What authorities are calling a "brazen, high-tech burglary crew" is suspected of stealing more than $10 million worth of cash and property through more than 50 commercial and residential burglaries, including Scents Forever in Hicksville. Five crew members were recently indicted on state charges by a grand jury.
“This brazen crew used local homes and businesses as their personal piggybanks and with so much stolen over so long a period of time, this was a highly organized, systematic, professional team of criminals,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Crew ringleader Nikitas “Nicky” Margiellos, 33, of West Babylon; Gerard Camarano, 54, of Valley Stream; and Trung Lu, 32, of Ridgewood, were arraigned earlier this month in Nassau County court. Two unnamed co-defendants have not yet been arrested. The defendants were indicted for two counts of burglary in the third degree and two counts each of possession of burglar’s tools, which can add up to a maximum possible sentence of anywhere from four to 16 years in prison. The crew also includes Rafael “Ray” Astacio, who was an NYPD detective at the time of his participation and was released on $2,500 bail. Further charges are anticipated against these and other defendants as the investigation continues.
Investigators, who have dubbed the case “Operation Crook, Line & Stinker” due to the defendants’ use of the term “fishing” as a code for their burglaries, found the crew to have stolen cash and property from 51 commercial and residential properties, including 21 in Nassau County, between 2009 and 2011. Commercial and residential establishments in Hicksville, Carle Place, Westbury, Mineola, and numerous communities throughout Nassau County were burglarized by the crew. The commercial establishments included doctors' offices, cigarette warehouses, high-end leather goods stores, restaurants, a meat warehouse and a coin store. More burglaries are suspected and cold cases are being re-investigated for matches to this crew.
During a portion of the investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps, detectives intercepted phone conversations in June 2012 where crew members discussed committing a residential burglary in Suffolk County. Members of the Nassau County Police Department’s DA Squad along with members of the FBI and Suffolk County Police Department set up surveillance on the target location on the night of the burglary. Crew members Joseph Alacqua and Michael Brown were observed entering the vacant home and minutes later exiting the residence with the homeowner’s personal property. When the crew members entered the getaway car driven by Astacio, they were arrested. This case is pending in Suffolk County Court.
Following this burglary and extensive physical surveillance by law enforcement, members of the NCPD DA Squad executed a court-ordered search warrant at Omega Storage in Amityville. The search resulted in the seizure of such burglar’s tools as a cellular telephone signal jammer, jack hammers, saws, drills, acetylene torches, radio chargers, a hydraulic floor jack, pry bars, bolt cutters, grinders, sledge hammers, axes, a dog catcher pole, gloves and ski masks.
Police say that the crew is linked to many unsolved burglaries because of distinct patterns that have emerged from the investigation. For example, the crew often cut telephone lines to disable alarms and used cellular telephone signal jamming devices to stop the back-up alarms from notifying the alarm companies’ central stations. At other times the crew gained access to commercial establishments by cutting through the wall of an adjoining building. The crew often targeted cash businesses and if successful, the business owner’s residences were then burglarized. The crew used GPS devices on business owner’s vehicles to locate the owner’s residence and to track the owner’s movements over an extended period of time so as to develop a pattern in their routine. With nearly all the burglaries, crew members conducted extensive Internet searches and physical surveillance of target locations prior to, in their terms, “going fishing.”
In order to avoid members of law enforcement, crew members used disposable phones, walkie-talkies and police scanners with the appropriate precinct frequency codes.
Federal charges have also been brought against several members of the crew, including Margiellos.
Friday, 25 April 2014 00:00
When it comes to the highly-competitive world of school sports, most athletes find themselves scrambling to find an edge on the field and do what it takes to leave the opposing team eating their dust.
MDP Lacrosse of Hicksville wants to give players that edge. Owned and operated by James Montana and his partners Steve and Scott Bryan, the training facility first opened in 2011; however, they didn’t start working at it full-time until 2012, at which time their unique approach to achievement in sporting really started to take off.
Thursday, 24 April 2014 09:22
Bob Hilsky left an indelible mark on the face of Hicksville baseball, as well as countless local players. This Saturday, that mark becomes official as the Hicksville High School varsity baseball field is renamed in honor of Coach Bob.
The entire community is invited to this Saturday’s 11 a.m. ceremony, where the Board of Education will dedicate the varsity baseball field as Coach Bob Hilsky Memorial Field to honor Hilsky’s 30 years of coaching baseball. Hilsky also taught in the district elementary schools before retiring in 1995. Hilsky passed away this past January at the age of 75.
Thursday, 24 April 2014 09:44
This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.
Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.
Why hire a triathlon coach?
Thursday, 24 April 2014 09:42
Every once in a while you just tip your cap to the opposition. That was the type of game it was for Hicksville’s JV baseball team in their 3-0 loss to Massapequa. The starting pitcher for the Massapequa Chiefs, Patrick Clyne threw a complete game shutout, while allowing three hits, walking none and striking out four.
Clyne was forced to pitch under duress only one time and that was in the third inning with the game still scoreless. He allowed a two-out single to opposing pitcher Terrence Wong. The next two batters followed with infield hits to load the bases. He was able to make a big pitch, however, to end the threat and keep the Comets off the board.