Three men were charged Thursday in connection with commercial burglaries on Long Island and authorities believe they are part of a ring suspected of committing nearly 50 similar crimes in the New York area, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
At a Jan. 9 press conference, Rice said the alleged ring is believed to be responsible for swiping over $10 million in stolen cash and property through 51 commercial and residential burglaries on Long Island and in surrounding counties.
Prosecutors charged Nikitas Margiellos, 33, of West Babylon; Gerard Camarano, 54, of Valley Stream; and Trung Lu, 32, of Rigewood. Each was indicted by a Nassau County grand jury on two counts of third-degree burglary and possession of burglar’s tools.
Investigators said the group used sophisticated technology – including GPS tracking devices and cell phone jammers – in addition to common tools like hammers, saws, crowbars and even blowtorches.
“When they go into the business and they cut the alarms, an automatic signal is sent,” Rice said. “This cell phone signal jammer prevented that signal from being sent, which afforded them more time to actually commit the burglaries.”
Rice said the crew cut through walls of adjoining buildings so they could break into the stores and the group is also accused of hooking GPS trackers on the cars of the business owners they targeted.
“They would follow them home…seeing what patterns developed and when the business owners would go home and then they would hit the homes of the business owners as well.”
The trio was charged for burglaries at a DSW store in Carle Place and a burglary of Scents Forever, a perfume reseller in Hicksville. A spokeswoman for DSW said they are “fully cooperating” with the investigation, but declined further comment. A message left at Scents Forever was not immediately returned.
Prosecutors said Margiellos was the ringleader of the operation and directed the other crew members to the targeted businesses. His attorney, Stuart Austin, denied those accusations after his client’s arraignment.
“They never said he entered the building…it is two commercial burglaries, that’s it,” he said. Asked about the alleged ring, he responded: “It makes for better press if you talk about it that way.”
Richard Langon, an attorney representing Camarano, also rebuffed prosecutors’ allegations that the three were part of a sophisticated ring.
“This is not the huge conspiracy that it’s being played up to be,” he said. “My client is not charged in any other of these acts that they’re making these allegations.”
Lu’s attorney did not speak with reporters after the arraignment.
In addition to the new charges, Margiellos has been charged in federal court in connection with similar commercial burglaries and has additional pending criminal charges in Nassau County. He currently wears a federal electronic monitoring bracelet and has a $500,000 bond in Nassau.
Prosecutors said that they expect additional suspects to be arrested in the near future and anticipate more charges will be filed.
The three are due back in court on Jan. 14.