Three North Lindenhurst residents pulled off several burglaries in their community in the past six weeks but were caught by officers who tailed them on foot for three hours, Suffolk County police said Tuesday.
They were arrested about 2:55 p.m. Monday after First Precinct detectives and crime control officers spotted them walking around and eventually casing two homes for open windows, said Det. Sgt. James Murphy of the First Precinct.
That was their usual method of breaking in to steal whatever they could easily take to fuel their heroin use, he said.
David Vanbourgondien, 30, Daniel Tarantino, 30, and Gina Giardinello, 26, pleaded not guilty at arraignment Tuesday on various charges, including burglary and criminal possession of stolen property.
They took thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry, along with credit cards and tablet computers, court papers charge.
Murphy said the three never busted down any door, but in a crime spree that began in early August, each burglary started with a knock on the front door.
"When there's no answer," he said, "they go around back and they look for an open window."
He said, "All they do is remove the screen and they climb in. They weren't rummaging the house. They were just taking a handful of items."
In one case, a resident came home Sunday to find a stranger inside -- a man who dashed past him, saying, "Sorry, I'm in the wrong house," according to the victim's statement. His bathroom window screen was broken, a gold-colored ring was gone and he spotted a cellphone that was not his, he wrote.
Detectives and plainclothes officers were looking for the burglars Monday when they saw three pedestrians fitting the suspects' descriptions, Murphy said: "We followed them for a few hours until we got them going to a house but didn't allow them to make entry."
They were arrested after trying to get into a house on Daniel Street, police said.
Vanbourgondien, of 621 N. Indiana Ave., was arraigned on 11 counts of second-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree attempted burglary. His bail was set at $130,000 cash or $390,000 bond. His attorney declined to comment.
Tarantino, of 73 N. Jefferson Ave., was arraigned on second-degree burglary, second-degree attempted burglary and criminal possession of stolen property charges. Bail was set at $25,000 cash or $75,000 bond. Attorney Christopher Gioe of Hauppauge said his client denies the charges.
Giardinello, also of 621 N. Indiana Ave., was arraigned on two counts of second-degree attempted burglary. Bail was set at $20,000 cash or $60,000 bond. She is represented by Legal Aid, which does not comment.
Murphy warned against leaving windows open when out: "It's like leaving your front door open."With Gary Dymski