State charges federal suspect, 4 others, in high-tech burglary ring
A West Babylon man now faces state charges after federal authorities in November called him the leader of a high-tech burglary ring that stole $10 million in goods and cash from homes and businesses.
Nikitas Margiellos, 40, pleaded not guilty Thursday to two burglary charges and two counts of possessing burglary tools after authorities unsealed a Nassau County grand jury's indictment.
Four accused associates also face state charges.
"This crew treated homes and businesses like personal piggy banks," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, displaying a table holding seized burglary tools in a county building in Mineola.
She said the ring used sophisticated methods while carrying out burglaries at about 50 locations on Long Island. She said the investigation is ongoing.
Court records show the five defendants face state charges linked to two incidents, one at DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse in Carle Place and another at Scents Forever in Hicksville.
Margiellos was indicted in 2012 in another burglary and grand larceny case and had been free on $500,000 bond until his November arrest on the federal charges. He is due in court Tuesday on the 2012 case.
Along with Margiellos, authorities named Gerard Camarano, 54, of Valley Stream, and Trung Lu, 32, of Ridgewood, Queens, as defendants who face the same state charges. They both pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Two men also face identical charges, but authorities didn't name them and said their indictments remain sealed.
Margiellos' attorney in the state cases, Stuart Austin, said his client maintains his innocence. The defendant already was on home detention after his release on $3 million bond in the federal case.
Camarano's lawyer, Richard Langone, said his client denies the charges.
"He's not charged with being part of a large-scale conspiracy. He's charged with two specific acts he denies being involved in," Langone said.
Lu's attorney didn't respond to messages Thursday.
Rice said authorities used wiretaps and physical surveillance to help crack the case. She said the ring's methods included targeting cash businesses and using police scanners, a cellphone signal jammer and GPS to carry out crimes.
Authorities said they seized equipment from an Amityville self-storage business that included saws, drills, bolt cutters, axes, sledge hammers, gloves and ski masks.
In addition to private households, Rice said victims of the ring included medical offices, cigarette warehouses, leather goods stores, restaurants, a meat warehouse and a coin store.
Three other Long Island men, including a former NYPD detective, are among those facing federal charges in connection with the same suspected ring.