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Bail set for Elmont parolee arrested in burglary spree

Eric Barnett, 50, of Elmont, who was arrested

Eric Barnett, 50, of Elmont, who was arrested on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, and charged with burglary, leaves Nassau police headquarters in Mineola on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Elmont parolee accused of burglarizing a dozen Nassau businesses over three months, stealing nearly $6,000 in cash, was ordered held on $1.2 million bond at his arraignment Wednesday.

Eric Barnett, 50, of Elmont, was charged with 12 counts of third-degree burglary in break-ins at restaurants, grocery and liquor stores beginning in July and ending with his arrest early Tuesday morning.

Nassau Assistant District Attorney Charles Dunn requested the alternative $600,000 cash bail, citing Barnett’s long criminal record — 15 convictions, including nine felonies. He also failed to appear in court four times in the past, Dunn said.

Barnett was represented by a Legal Aid Society attorney, who said that despite his client’s long criminal history he “hasn’t been in trouble” for the past seven years.

Barnett, who has been convicted of committing burglaries dating back to 1984, pleaded guilty in 2009 to third-degree burglary and was sentenced to three to six years in prison, according to court records. Barnett was released to parole supervision on June, 19, 2015, according to records.

Nassau Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki had called Barnett “a one-man crime wave” after he allegedly committed a dozen burglaries stretching from Floral Park to Bellmore beginning on July 8. He was nabbed by detectives from the Nassau police’s Burglary Pattern Team early Tuesday as he tried to break into a Hempstead supermarket, police said.

The arrest came after a pair of street cops had pulled him over and gave his license plate number and name to detectives, who began following him under the suspicion that he committed the burglaries.

Barnett, who grew up in Queens, has lived in Nassau with family members for the past year and a half. He most recently worked at Walmart and was a truck driver for the Salvation Army, his attorney said.

He has two children, ages 27 and 18, the lawyer said.

Barnett’s brother, identified by his lawyer as a retired police detective, attended the arraignment but declined to comment afterward. The attorney did not say for which department the brother had served.

In several of the burglaries, Barnett cut holes in the roofs of businesses to gain entry, police said.

According to court documents, in at least three of the cases — including when he was arrested Tuesday trying to break into the Hempstead supermarket — Barnett left the businesses without any money.

In his first attempt at about 1 a.m. on July 8 at the Pat’s Farms grocery store on Merrick Avenue in North Merrick, he cut a hole in the roof and entered the store but “fled scene without obtaining any proceeds,” the felony complaint said.

On July 31 at about 3:45 a.m. he cut a hole in the roof of an ABC Farms store on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont but “the alarm was activated” and he “fled scene prior to entering,” the complaint said.

His next attempt was successful, the complaint said, when on Aug. 9 at about 2:30 a.m. Barnett cut a hole in the roof of Galleria Pizzeria on Merrick Avenue in Merrick and got away with about $350 in cash.

In his most lucrative heist, according to court documents, Barnett made off with $2,500 in cash from the register at the International Delight Cafe on Bedford Avenue in Bellmore after cutting a hole in the roof.

CORRECTION: The bail amount was incorrect in a previous version of this story.


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