MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) – A former New York City police detective was part of a burglary ring that pocketed approximately $10 million in loot over several years, including $3 million worth of sunglasses, prosecutors announced Thursday.
The ex-detective, Rafael Astacio, 41, of Copiague, and four others were scheduled to make initial court appearances Thursday in federal court in Central Islip. Astacio’s attorney did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
The proceeds of the burglaries included the sunglasses taken from a Plainview, N.Y., business and $2 million in cash stolen from a plastic surgeon’s office, prosecutors said.
The five men were charged with conspiracy and transporting stolen property across state lines. Astacio also was charged with illegally accessing an FBI database while working as a detective.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Astacio, a 20-year veteran who was assigned to the special victims division, was fired this month following an Internal Affairs investigation.
“Astacio’s actions make clear that he was a police officer in name only, having sold his badge and his honor in exchange for his share of their ill-gotten gains,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
According to the indictment, the ring operated on Long Island between 2009 and 2012. It used traditional burglary tools like blow torches, crowbars, wire cutters and sledgehammers, and technology including cellphone jammers and police scanners, according to the indictment.
In one instance, the crew allegedly installed a tracking device on a car to ensure the victim was not present when a break-in happened.
If convicted, Astacio faces up to 17 years in prison.
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