The ringleader of a high-tech burglary crew that included an ex-New York City cop has admitted to leading the group in stealing more than $10 million from Long Island homes and businesses.
Nikitas Margiellos pleaded guilty Monday at Nassau County court to burglary, grand larceny and possession of burglar’s tools.
Prosecutors said the 41-year-old West Babylon man was arrested for burglarizing money from a Laurel Hollow home on Aug. 21, 2009 after he attached a GPS device to the victim’s vehicle to track her movements.
Authorities said he led a crew that stole cash and property from 51 residences and businesses—including 21 in Nassau, 28 in Suffolk, one in Queens and one in Westchester—between 2009 and 2011. LI towns that were targeted include Baldwin, Carle Place, Hicksville, Freeport, Mineola, Plainview, Syosett, Westbury and Woodbury. The businesses ranged from doctor’s offices, leather goods stores, restaurants, a coin store as well as warehouses for meat, perfume and cigarettes.
The FBI, Nassau and Suffolk police rounded up the crew after using wiretaps to intercept phone conversations in which the burglars discussed their burglaries. Detectives then staked out target locations to catch the burglars in the act. Among the burglar’s tools investigators seized from the crew’s Amityville storage facility were a cell phone signal jammer, jack hammers, acetylene torches, a hydraulic floor jack and a dog catcher pole.
Of the others involved, ex-NYPD cop Rafael Astacio of Copiague, Leonard Repka of Lindenhurst and Michael Figueroa of Mount Vernon all pleaded guilty in Suffolk earlier this year. Cases against 55-year-old Gerald Camarano of Valley Stream, 33-year-old Trung Lu of Ridgewood, and Victor Arias of Copiague are pending.
Judge Alan Honorof is expected to sentence Margiellos on Dec. 1.