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.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
Commuting to work via train is exasperating and expensive—add on the stress of parking and the threat of tickets, and it becomes madness.
At the Hicksville Long Island Railroad (LIRR) station, there are 2,603 total spots, which includes 1,440 in the town parking garage. Of the total spots, 1,531 are permit spots and 618 are unrestricted, according to the Town of Oyster Bay public information office. Though that sounds like plenty, the sheer volume of passengers commuting from the station makes every morning a mad dash for parking.
Friday, 14 November 2014 00:00
John Busto, a 6th Degree Black Belt in American Kempo Karate and lifelong Hicksville resident, was inspired to begin the rigorous path of martial arts at the young age of nine after watching the old David Carradine television show “Kung-Fu.”
“I saw that show and I thought, ‘I have to do this.’ It was just something that was interesting to me; the mystique of martial arts,” he said. “So my parents brought me to a local school called Tracy’s Karate. Back then there weren’t many schools like there are today, and I was lucky enough to have one in my town.”
Thursday, 13 November 2014 09:12
Football was Mike Torrellas’ heart and soul. He also liked a good Turkey Bowl.
Unfortunately, the Hicksville Crusaders co-founder wasn’t able to witness the program’s inaugural event, which took place Saturday, Nov. 8.
Torrellas passed away suddenly last December due to a blood clot, but the spirit and drive of the man who wore the number 53 and tragically passed at that age still surrounds the Crusaders football program.
Thursday, 06 November 2014 11:27
The Long Island Fight for Charity will be hosting its 11th annual Charity Boxing Event on Nov. 24 at the Hilton in Melville. Among the 20 volunteers putting up their fists for funds will be Hicksville business owner Mell Goldman, who will be fighting under the nickname “The Kid.”
Goldman is the President of All Boro Cleaning Services. He stated that he was enticed at the opportunity and wanted to contribute to charity.