Nassau County police have arrested four members of a suspected Colombian burglar ring suspected of carrying out up to 30 burglaries targeting Native American communities in and around Hicksville, Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Wednesday.
Investigators believe the group of Colombian immigrants, who are in the country illegally, would watch the victims leave businesses in Hicksville, follow them home and return a few days later to watch for burglaries, Ryder said during a press conference with County Manager Bruce Blakeman.
Ryder did not provide additional information about what led investigators to suspect Indo-American communities were being targeted.
The suspects were arrested and charged Monday after detectives observed them robbing a South Street residence in Hicksville, Ryder said.
Members of the burglary team and Office of Special Operations guarding the home saw one of the defendants knock on the front door around 1 p.m., then walk away and walk around the block several times after no one answered.
Detectives then saw two other men, posing as construction workers and wearing yellow vests, enter the backyard of the residence, believing it to be empty, Ryder said.
The burglars smashed a sliding glass rear door, fleeing when a woman screamed, police said. The pair then jumped into a getaway car driven by a fourth suspect, police said.
Police arrested the first suspect, Daniel Esteban Jimenez-Carrillo, 30, of South Ozone Park, then pulled over a black 2020 Hyundai that was allegedly used as a getaway car, authorities said.
Gleason Jhoan Hernandez-Gomez, 33, of College Point, was also arrested; and Justin Mora-Soto, 20, and Brayan Alexis Ortiz-Ramos, 20, both of South Ozone Park. All were charged with attempted second-degree burglary and fourth-degree conspiracy and were due to be arraigned in Hempstead First District Court on Wednesday.
Updated information on their court appearances or whether the four have defense attorneys was not immediately available.
Police said they recovered a stolen loaded AK-47 assault rifle, wrapped in a plastic bag and left in a wooded area in front of the house.
“Any kid could have picked up that gun and shot somebody,” Ryder said. “The recklessness of this group, in addition to harming communities, is targeting the Hicksville Indian community.”
Ryder said the group was suspected of 20 to 30 burglaries in Bethpage, Hicksville, Levittown and New Hyde Park, but had not yet been charged.