West End burglar gets 16 years to life

DNA from discarded cigarette, clothing led to man’s arrest


The man behind a rash of home burglaries that had West End residents on edge four years ago, and who had left behind DNA evidence at the scene of the break-ins, was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison on Monday.

Nassau County Court Judge Meryl Berkowitz sentenced 43-year-old Joseph Moss based on his status as a “mandatory, persistent violent felony offender” with multiple previous burglary convictions and a prior robbery conviction, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

“This defendant’s inability to live within the confines of the law demanded a lengthy prison sentence, and I am glad to know that he will not be able to victimize another innocent person for a very long time,” Rice said in a statement.

Moss is accused of a series of burglaries that began on Sept. 14, 2010 that involved homes on Maryland, Wyoming and Pennsylvania avenues and Alabama and Kentucky streets, all occurring between 8 a.m. and noon, according to police officials at the time. The suspect typically pushed in an air conditioner or entered through an open window. No residents were home during the break-ins. Once inside, the burglar ransacked the homes, police said, and usually took cash and jewelry.

Moss was charged with three of the five burglaries when he was arrested by Long Beach Police Department detectives in Brooklyn on Oct. 27, 2010, after what police had described as a “relentless” manhunt. The arrest was welcome news to many West End residents at the time, who said that the burglaries had the community in virtual lockdown.

A jury convicted Moss of two counts of second-degree burglary nearly a year ago, but acquitted him of one count of second-degree burglary.

According to police, Moss had been living in an apartment on Indiana Avenue. Police distributed fliers throughout the West End during the two-week period when the burglaries were taking place, and Moss fled to Pennsylvania before returning to Brooklyn several times.

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