Crime Watch

Valley Stream man charged in burglary ring


A Valley Stream man is among three people newly charged in high-tech burglary crew accused of stealing more than $10 million worth of cash and property from at least 50 homes and businesses on Long Island and the surrounding region.

Following a joint investigation, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrests last Thursday. Gerard Camarano, 54, of Valley Stream, has been charged with two counts of third-degree burglary and two counts of possession of burglar’s tools. If convicted he could face up to 16 years in prison. Further charges are pending.

Camarano’s attorney, Richard Langone, of Garden City, said his client maintains his innocence.

Also arrested were Nikitas Margiellos, 33, of West Babylon, who authorities say was the ringleader, and Trung Lu, 32, of Ridgewood, Queens. Arrests of two other individuals are possible.

Investigators, who have dubbed the case “Operation Crook, Line and Stinker” due to the defendants’ use of the term “fishing” as a code word for their burglaries, say the trio stole cash and property from 51 commercial and residential properties between 2009 and 2011. The properties include 21 in Nassau, 28 in Suffolk, one in Queens and one in Westchester. More burglaries are suspected and unsolved cases are being re-investigated for matches to this crew.

According to authorities, these robberies occurred in Baldwin, Carle Place, Freeport, Hicksville, Laurel Hollow, Mineola, Plainview, Syosset, Westbury and Woodbury. Businesses they reportedly robbed included doctor’s offices, perfume warehouses, cigarette warehouses, high-end leather goods stores, restaurants, a meat warehouse and a coin store.

Authorities say the crew often cut telephone lines to disable alarms and used cellular telephone signal jamming devices to stop the back-up alarms. At other times, the crew reportedly gained access to commercial establishments by cutting through the wall of an adjoining building. Cash businesses were often targeted and, if successful, the business owner’s residences were then burglarized. The burglars would use GPS devices on the business owner’s vehicles to locate their residence, according to the indictment.

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