Three men arrested in a monthslong string of million-dollar home burglaries across Long Island were arraigned on Sunday in First District Court in Hempstead.
Oscar Vera, 27, was arraigned, and bail was set at $350,000. Andres Zapata, 20, and Brayan Castano, 30, were both arraigned and remanded without bail, court records show.
The thieves committed seven burglaries between May 12 and Sept. 21 in Manhasset, Old Westbury, Woodbury and Jericho, Nassau police said. They stole jewelry, cash and other items by breaking into the back doors and windows of the residences, police added.
The homes that were burglarized, worth $1 million and more, were broken into during the evening and generally on Fridays and Saturdays. Several of the robberies occurred on the same streets — Laurel Lane in Old Westbury and Stone Hill Drive in Manhasset. Only one of the seven burglaries was thwarted after a home security alarm sounded, court records read.
On Friday, the Nassau County Police Burglary Pattern Squad, in conjunction with the Electronics Squad and Asset Forfeiture Unit, announced the arrest of Vera, of San Bernardino, California. He was charged with one count of second-degree burglary. Castano and Zapata, both from Queens, were charged with seven counts of second-degree burglary.
The defendants' written testimony differs regarding the number of participants for each robbery and their roles.
On Friday, Vera alleged in a written deposition that he drove a Hyundai Santa Fe with the other two defendants and served as a lookout while they broke into a Jericho home in a gated community, records show.
Zapata alleged that he served as a lookout for five of six burglaries, according to authorities.
Castano alleged that for all seven burglaries, he drove a BMW X5, dropped off the other two defendants and was in “telephone communication” with them while he stayed in the vehicle and waited to pick them up, officials said.
For the Friday robbery in Jericho, all three allege that they were waiting in the car as lookouts while the other two robbed the property, documents read.
All are set to appear in court on Wednesday.