Fresh footprints in the snow led officers tracking a burglary alarm call to arrest twin brothers outside a Massapequa Park home, Nassau County police said Tuesday.
A subsequent investigation then tied 23-year-olds John Wallace and Eugene Wallace, both of 93 First Ave., to four other burglaries in Nassau during the past two weeks, police said. They pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Tuesday.
Police said the incident began when officers responded to an alarm call at 4:30 a.m. Monday in the Park Stationery & Smoke Shop in Massapequa Park.
Officers found the rear door ajar and fresh snow prints leading away from the business.
The police officers followed the snow tracks to a house on First Avenue in Massapequa Park, police said, and after watching it for a short time, the officers saw the Wallace brothers exit.
They stopped the pair and found Eugene Wallace had scratch-off lottery tickets taken in the burglary, police said.
An investigation at the Seventh Precinct then tied the twins to burglaries of The Barn stores in North Bellmore, Freeport, Hewlett and Merrick, all within the past two weeks, police said.
Aegina Angeliades, whose family owns those Barn locations, said surveillance footage immediately led her to suspect the Wallace twins after the first break-in, at the Merrick store.
Court records show the brothers were the same two who had pleaded guilty in the 2010 burglary of the family's Dairy Barn in North Massapequa.
"They had a very specific way of breaking in," Angeliades said. "They would remove a wood panel . . . and crawl in."
In each hit of The Barn, the two men used bolt cutters to get into the cigarette cabinet, stuffed their backpacks with cigarette cartons, then stole cash from a back room, she said. Each burglary resulted in a $10,000 loss, she said.
The family told police their suspicions, even Googling the Wallace twins' address for police -- the same house where the men were caught, the businesswoman said.
But four other stores were hit before police tracked down the twins, Angeliades said. Police declined to comment on whether her tip was pursued.
Eugene Wallace was charged with five counts of third-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He was held on $52,500 cash bail or bond.
John Wallace was charged with four counts of third-degree burglary. He was held on $100,000 cash bail or bond.
With Gary Dymski