YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Thanks in part to a Telemundo viewer who recognized him, Leonia police said they’ve caught the business-suited burglary captured on surveillance video breaking into a home, as well as an alleged lookout he was talking with on a cellphone.
Carlos Becerra, 43, who was wearing a suit, gloves and sunglasses when he committed two burglaries in Leonia on July 18 and an attempted break-in on July 30, was being held on Riker’s Island in New York City pending extradition, Police Chief Thomas Rowe said this morning.
He was arrested last week by Leonia Detective Sgt. Chris Garris and Detective Michael Jennings, along with members of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, in Queens.
Also arrested was 37-year-old Carolina Gomez, who the chief said was parked in a white 2012 Chevy Equinox SUV near the two burglaries, serving as a lookout.
“We were very fortunate to have excellent video, which had audio,” Rowe said. “We had some hard, solid work by members of the department.
“And there was the assistance of the media in getting the video out.”
A TV viewer recognized Becerra and contacted police, Rowe said.
The investigators hit Gomez’s Flushing apartment in the early-morning hours last Thursday and found both suspects there, he said.
They recovered the grey suit, gloves and sunglasses, as well as a pry tool used in the break-ins and some of the proceeds, Rowe said.
Becerra, who had an outstanding criminal warrant from Edison for burglary and theft, was immediately taken into custody. He is charged with two counts of burglary and theft and one of attempted burglary.
Gomez — who has a young child — was later charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and theft.
She was arraigned yesterday in Leonia and released without bail “due to the fact that she did not have any prior arrests [or] any outstanding warrants and was not considered a flight risk,” the chief said.
Leonia has long been a target for burglars and other thieves — and not those just from New Jersey. In this case, the houses struck were just off Grand Avenue, which has quick, easy access to highway escape routes that are minutes — if not seconds — from the George Washington Bridge.
This is why authorities urge residents to have strong locks, alarm systems and surveillance cameras. They also urge citizens to look out for one another, and to immediately call police if and when they see anything suspicious.
Rowe thanked the Marshals and the media, and commended Garris, Jennings and Officer John Longo for the “hard work, dedication and diligence they put into this case over the past 3+ weeks.”
CLIFFVIEW PILOT had the original scoop and was first with the arrests and all developments in the case:
YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: A business-suited, briefcase-carrying burglar was caught on surveillance video breaking into a Leonia home yesterday. READ MORE….
YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: Leonia police this afternoon released a surveillance photo of an extended van believed connected to a business-suited, briefcase-carrying burglar who was caught on surveillance video breaking into a home yesterday. READ MORE….
YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: An afternoon business suit burglar caught on surveillance video a week and a half ago struck again in Leonia today — this time wearing beige and carrying papers instead of a briefcase. READ MORE….
MUGSHOTS: Courtesy LEONIA PD
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