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Long IslandCrime

Officials: West Hempstead man stole bank cards, cash to buy food and drugs

A West Hempstead man broke into vehicles across Nassau County during the course of a year, stealing cash and banks cards he then used to buy gift cards and resell them, prosecutors said Thursday.

Alex Hines, 47, would smash the windows of the vehicles if they were locked, but often the cash, wallets and bank cards were in plain sight, authorities said. He stole from 13 vehicles and used the proceeds to buy gift cards at drugstores, Home Depot and 7-Eleven, then used the money from the card sales to buy drugs and food, prosecutors with the Nassau district attorney's office said in announcing the 54-count indictment.

He was arraigned Thursday on two counts of third-degree grand larceny; four counts of fourth-degree grand larceny; 20 counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property; three counts of third-degree criminal mischief; first-degree scheme to defraud; three counts of second-degree identity theft; 10 counts of third-degree identity theft; and 11 counts of petty larceny.

Hines' bail remained at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash. His attorney could not be immediately reached Thursday night.

Between February 2018 and April of this year, authorities said, Hines broke into vehicles parked in front of the victims' homes or outside CVS stores in Oyster Bay, Hicksville, Valley Stream, Syosset, Bethpage, Rockville Centre, East Meadow, Roslyn, Franklin Square and Hempstead.

"For more than a year, this defendant broke into cars across Nassau County and allegedly stole more than $10,000 during this crime spree,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a news release. “This case is a reminder to lock your car doors and to take any items of value with you before you leave your car.”

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