Cops probe North Hempstead home invasions


Cops probe North Hempstead home invasions

Published: December 16, 2010 10:15 PM

The scene of a home invasion that took

Photo credit: Uli Seit | The scene of a home invasion that took place in, Kings Point, N.Y. (Dec. 16, 2010)


Nassau police hold a news conference, and neighbors Home invasions

He enters at night, usually through unlocked windows or back doors he can pry open, perhaps a screen he can slice and hoist himself through. He prefers to confront girls and women – his victims ranging in age from 5 to 63.

He doesn’t speak, seems to provoke face-to-face contact with his victims, does not spend a lot of time "casing" the locations where he will strike – but he is not interested in money and may have a sexual motive at the root of his crimes.

That’s the profile Nassau police say is emerging of the man they believe committed at least four home intrusions overnight in Great Neck and Kings Point on Sunday and Wednesday – and authorities are concerned that he is getting bolder with each attack.

In fact, one attack Wednesday was reported on Lighthouse Road at 3:15 a.m., 25 minutes after another one was reported on the same street at a home where police were likely still on the scene investigating.

"Of course we’re worried that his behavior is going to escalate," said Det. Lt. Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department, during a news conference at police headquarters in Mineola. "There’s no question about that."

The intruder made physical contact with three of four victims, holding a cloth over one teenage girl’s mouth, pinching closed the lips of a 5-year-old girl and holding a knife to the neck of a 61-year-old woman whom he attacked as she slept, police said.

Smith and Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki advised people to close and lock windows and doors, set home alarm systems, and call police upon hearing suspicious sounds.

"We recognize communities are living in quite a state of anxiety right now and we are doing everything we can," Skrynecki said.

Skrynecki said police have been working overnight scanning field interviews of thousands of traffic stops and have begun examining old cases with similar details, including one in 2008 that was eerily similar.

In that instance, a man entered a home in Great Neck and confronted a woman, but no arrest was made in the case, Skrynecki said.

Police are examining forensic materials: They hope to extract DNA material from a hat the intruder left at a home in Great Neck during the first attack Sunday. Skrynecki said police patrols have been beefed up in the area.

"We don’t have a certain motive," Skrynecki said. "But his conduct certainly would lead us to consider that some sexual motive may be in place here, since there have been confrontations with females and there have been opportunities to take property, and he hasn’t taken property."

The most recent attack, at 4:43 a.m. Wednesday, involved a knife that the suspect held against the throat of a 61-year-old woman, who wrestled it away and freed herself after the suspect tried to hold her down in her bed.

She chased him down the stairs and he escaped out a back door.

That attack inside a home on Lighthouse Road was the first instance in which a weapon was used, Smith said, adding that the knife probably came from the woman’s kitchen.

Earlier, at 3:15 a.m. the same day, at a home on Lighthouse Road in Kings Point, a 63-year-old woman woke up when she heard banging and glass shattering in her home, a disturbance that set off the home’s alarm system, police said.

She came downstairs and saw a man silently peering at her and her live-in aide through the broken glass of her back door before he left, police said.

Police said the fact that he lingered to exchange glances with his victim suggests he wanted to be seen by his victims.

That incident occurred as police were likely still at another home on Lighthouse Road, where at 2:50 a.m. the man startled a 5-year-old girl who mistook him for her father.

Smith said the man put his hand over the girl’s mouth, as if to force her to remain quiet.

He may have spent as much as 10 minutes inside the house.

He did not speak or make a sound. But the girl called out, "Daddy?" She screamed, alerting her parents, as the intruder ran outside a rear door, Smith said.

"We’re lucky my husband woke up in time that he didn’t harm us, didn’t harm our kid," said the girl’s mother, who said the man stood in the hallway outside the bedroom of her two children, who are 1 and 5 years old.

He apparently entered the home through a bathroom window, she said.

The mother said she told her daughter that the man had probably lost his way and mistakenly walked into the wrong house.

"She’s not aware of the degree of harm that it could have been," the mother said, adding that she will always set her home alarm system to ward off intruders.

The earliest incident occurred Sunday when the man entered the bedroom of a 15-year-old girl on West Shore Road in Great Neck, and held a wet cloth across her face.

The suspect is described as 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and about 200 pounds. He has black hair and was wearing a wool cap, black jacket, blue jeans and black shoes with silver buckle-type loops on the sides.

Detectives request anyone with information about these invasions to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.

Cops probe North Hempstead home invasions

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