When Cops Become Burglars, Where Do You Turn?

Posted by , , at 11:18 am

Despite the availability of advanced and affordable wireless home security technology, it’s not so easy protecting your home and family. After all, the pressures are mounting on homeowners looking for peace of mind: a bad economy, increased drug use, and stubbornly high residential crime stats that show a burglary occurring every 14 seconds in the US. Now, throw in a couple of curve balls: overly aggressive alarm door knockers trying to steal your business away from your existing alarm company, and burglars posing as alarm salesmen or utility workers to case your home – no wonder so many people are seriously concerned about their safety.

And it just got worse: recent reports from New York City and from St. Louis, Missouri tell of police officers under suspicion of participating in just the crimes they are sworn to defend you against. Here’s the story from The Big Apple.

Authorities in New York are investigating whether a veteran NYPD detective is part of a larger burglary crew. Manhattan Special Victims Unit cop Rafael “Ray” Astacio, 39, was arrested along with three others, after a break-in at a Long Island home earlier this month and charged with second-degree burglary. The 14-year police veteran was freed on $2,500 bail and suspended from the NYPD without pay a day after his arrest.

Part of Larger Gang of Burglars?

Astacio is now the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Suffolk County Police Department and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office who are now probing whether he works with a team that pulled off other burglaries in New York City. The investigation is part of a larger attempt to determine whether Astacio was involved in corruption during his years as a vice cop and sex-crimes investigator.

Details of the Heist

Astacio and his three alleged accomplices were caught June 3 after breaking into a Lindenhust home belonging to Anastasios Matheos, according to court documents. The crew entered the home through the backdoor and was leaving with $2,500 worth of jewelry when cops from Nassau and Suffolk County and FBI agents busted them. Matheos arrived home from church to find police swarming his property. “They told me there was a robbery and they got the guys,” Matheos told the New York Daily News. Matheos said the burglars didn’t ransack the place, but instead went for the jewelry belonging to his wife and daughter. Investigators had already been tailing Astacio because they were eyeing him for other heists, the New York Post reported.

And From The Gateway City

A St. Louis City police officer has been suspended for his involvement in a burglary.  Officer Andrew Perez, 29, was suspended without pay. St. Louis police investigators say Perez was involved in a burglary Sunday morning in the 6200 block of Bowman but did not release any other details. Perez is charged with First Degree Burglary.  He has been with the department for over five years.  He was a part of the North Patrol Special Operations Unit and has served in the 3rd and 7th police districts. An internal affairs investigation is ongoing.

Police Know the Easy Targets

It’s a safe bet that none of the homes broken into in these stories had a monitored alarm system. After all, police officers know very well that alarm systems work, and greatly increase the chance of a burglar being caught. That’s even more true today, with interactive monitoring services and even home security cams finding their way into increasing numbers of homes. What amazes me is the underlying issue: how is it that those public servants can turn their backs on the oaths they swore to serve and to protect?

FrontPoint is not happy to see these headlines: if we cannot trust the police, then who can we trust? Thankfully these are highly unusual situations, but the lesson is still there to be learned: you are better off with an alarm system than you are without one. In fact, with monitored home protection you are three times less likely to be broken into.

And once you start shopping online for home security and automation services, you’ll quickly learn why FrontPoint is the leader in interactive, wireless home security: our long list of five-star reviews spells out very clearly what makes us the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.  Being on top means we have to prove ourselves in every aspect of our business – with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. These days, that makes us rare indeed among nationwide alarm service providers.

Comments (4)

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  1. Alan

    There should be enhanced sentencing for authorities of the law who use that authority to knowingly engage in or abet crime.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – I bet a lot of people would support that. That is a trust that should never be violated… Thanks.

  2. Alan

    There should be enhanced sentencing for authorities of the law who use that authority to knowingly engage in or abet crime.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – I bet a lot of people would support that. That is a trust that should never be violated… Thanks.