2011-10-14 / Top Stories

Rockaway Park Burglar Busted

By Howard Schwach

Police from the 100 Precinct busted a west end burglar on Friday, October 5, but are uncertain whether he is responsible for the plethora of burglaries over the past three months.

Police sources say that William McNeal, 54, of 69-25 Hillmeyer Avenue in Arverne, was caught by Police Officer Carlos Cano with some personal goods that had been taken from 130 Beach 120 Street.

According to Cano, an officer in the precinct’s anti-crime team that had been working the burglary pattern in Rockaway, they got a call that a man had been spotted breaking into the house.

McNeal was spotted riding his bicycle on the sidewalk while pushing a large shopping cart containing a black laundry bag.

The bag contained a screwdriver and a Dewault chopsaw.

When the cops checked the house they found the basement door pried open and the owner identified one of the missing items as the chopsaw.

House break-ins on the west end of Rockaway have surged by 120 percent this year, the worst crime increase of any precinct in the city, NYPD CompStat statistics show.

This year, to date, there have been 92 burglaries in the 100 Precinct, compared with 42 at this time last year.

In the last month alone, there have been 17 burglaries, compared with four for the same period last year – a 325 percent rise.

For the past two weeks, police officers have spread out over a large section of Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor, knocking on doors and handing out flyers to local residents.

Their message?

Keep your doors and windows secured.

“The great majority of [the burglaries] have been break-ins through unsecured doors and windows. They cut through the screens and walk in, taking jewelry and cash and whatever else they can quickly get their hands on,” said 100 Precinct commanding officer, Captain Scott Olexa, who had detailed special units, including his anti-crime unit, which works in civilian clothing, to cover the area most often hit by the burglar(s).

“I can’t emphasize the need to keep windows and doors secured, especially when residents are away from the house,” Olexa told The Wave. “Doing that would cut down significantly on the burglary pattern.

McNeal was arraigned on October 6, charged with burglary, possession of burglar’s tools, criminal mischief, petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk.

He is being held on $5,000 bail for his next court date, which is scheduled for October 21.

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