A Queens man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a pattern burglary ring that targeted North Shore homes in 2018, Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly announced Wednesday.
Andres Zapata, 24, was part of a trio that stole more than $1 million in cash and currency from homes in Manhasset, Old Westbury, Jericho and Woodbury, officials said. Zapata and Brayan Castano, 34, burglarized or attempted to burglarize nine homes in gated communities throughout the North Shore between May 2018-September 2018.
Oscar Vera, the third member of the group named by the DA, faces the same charges but has not been convicted.
Items they stole included designer handbags, jewelry, U.S. and foreign currency, naturalization records and birth certificates, according to officials. Prosecutor Stefanie Palma, Monday, said the stolen items were not recovered, according to Newsday.
The trio targeted gated communities with one entrance into and out of the community and had a lookout stationed at the gate to alert the others if police responded to burglary reports, officials said. The nine incidents occurred on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights and the trio entered through the homes by breaking rear windows or doors, officials said.
The first two burglaries took place on May 12, 2018, police said, with a Laurel Lane home in Old Westbury burglarized at 8:37 p.m., followed by a Kensington Circle home in Manhasset at 9:19 p.m. On May 18, 2018, at 8:28 p.m. another Laurel Lane home was burglarized, according to police.
A Stone Hill Drive home in Manhasset was burglarized on June 1, 2018, at 8:30 p.m., followed by a Woodbury home on June 23, 2018, at 8:31 p.m. and another Stone Hill Drive home in Manhasset on Aug. 10, 2018, at 9 p.m., police said.
Zapata was convicted of seven counts of burglary in the second degree, attempted burglary in the second degree and possession of burglar tools.
“Andres Zapata and his co-defendants brazenly burglarized homes on the North Shore, smashing rear windows and doors to gain access and making off with cash, jewelry, and other luxury items,” Donnelly said in a statement. “This sophisticated burglary operation was ended when Nassau County Police Department officers caught these individuals in the act and arrested them. Today’s sentence holds Zapata accountable for his unsettling crime spree.”
Castano was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June. He was also convicted of seven counts of burglary in the second degree, attempted burglary in the second degree and possession of burglar tools in October 2021, officials said.
Castano’s attorney, Jeffrey Groder, said the crimes were committed when no individuals were home to ensure no one was hurt, according to Newsday. Officials did not specify when Castano’s and Zapata’s sentencings would commence. Efforts to reach officials for further comment on the matter were unavailing.