Ex-NYPD Cop Gets 6 Years for Long Island Burglary Spree

An ex-New York City police detective was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for his role in a burglary ring that stole more than $10 million in cash and property from Long Island homes and businesses over a four-year span.

At Central Islip federal court in 2014, Rafael Astacio, 43, of Copiague, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and filing a fraudulent tax return.

“By victimizing the very same people he took an oath to serve and protect, the defendant compounded his criminal acts,” said Robert Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Astacio was arrested four years ago as part of a five-man team that broke into 10 homes and three dozen businesses during their spree between 2009 and 2012, authorities have said.

The crew used sledge hammers, wire cutters, blow torches and crowbars, as well as police scanners and cell phone jammers, authorities explained. In addition, the crew staked out potential victims to determine when they would be out of their homes and businesses. Astacio’s assignments were to be the lookout, to monitor a police scanner and to transport the stolen merchandise across state lines so it could be sold on the black market.

In handing down the ex-cop’s sentence, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco also ordered Astacio to pay nearly $2 million in restitution to his victims.

Nassau County prosecutors worked with federal authorities on the case.

“While most police officers serve with integrity and honor, former Detective Astacio broke his oath and the law when he conspired with others to steal millions of dollars’ worth of property and cash from homes and businesses in our area,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of local and federal law enforcement partners, this crooked cop was caught and successfully prosecuted, and he will never tarnish the badge again.”

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