A Brooklyn man has been arrested and charged in connection with stealing cash and more than $200,000 worth of jewelry at nine Nassau County businesses since early this year, officials said Thursday.
Investigators also have charged two Great Neck men with helping Joseph Borelli, 42, commit separate heists in Bellmore and North Bellmore, officials said. In addition, the trio is suspected of being involved in at least seven other smash-and-grab burglaries in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens, the Nassau County district attorney's office said.
The Nassau County Police Department's Third Squad identified the pattern and launched a six-month investigation with the district attorney's Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau and the District Attorney Squad that is ongoing, officials said. Authorities cracked the case using video surveillance and a court-authorized tracking device to make the arrests, officials said.
Among the nine businesses burglarized from Jan. 10 to June 16 were jewelry stores, delis, a shoe repair shop and a bagel cafe in Massapequa, Greenvale, Valley Stream, Syosset, Great Neck, Plainview and East Norwich, authorities said.
"We are lucky that no one was hurt in these overnight smash-and-grab burglaries and will continue our close partnership with the Nassau County Police Department on this case to make sure that we will deliver justice for the hardworking victims," acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.
Borelli, the accused ringleader, was arrested last Friday and charged with nine counts each of third-degree burglary and criminal mischief, all felonies. Authorities charge he used a hammer to smash glass doors to gain entry to the businesses, in one instance using a sledgehammer to get into a Great Neck deli, where he is suspected of stealing about $500 in cash and lottery tickets.
Rotem Balila, 25, of Great Neck was arrested Tuesday and charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree criminal mischief. Authorities say he acted as a lookout -- waiting outside in his black Mercedes, according to court documents -- for Borelli during the April 15 burglary of the Bolila Jewelry store in North Bellmore. He also was charged with third-degree possession of a controlled substance, a felony. According to a felony complaint, he had 82 bags of heroin when arrested.
Rotem Balila's brother -- Edan Balila, 27, of Great Neck -- was arrested Wednesday and charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor, in connection with the Jan. 7 burglary of Kardesh Jewelers in Bellmore.
In that heist, authorities said he and Borelli entered the store.
All three pleaded not guilty and were represented at arraignment by Legal Aid Society attorneys. Borelli's bail is set at $450,000 cash or bond. Rotem Balila's bail is set at $20,000 bond or $75,000 cash. And Edan Balila's bail was set at $42,000 bond or $21,000 cash.
"I would like to praise the efforts of the Nassau County Police Department's District Attorney Squad, Third Squad and the district attorney's office for their tireless efforts to bring this band of serial burglars to justice," Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said in a statement.
Marina Bolila, owner of Bolila Jewelry in North Bellmore, was ecstatic when she learned of the arrests Thursday.
"I have to call my husband," she said. "The question is: Do they have any merchandise to give back? If they found the watches, it would be good to give them back."