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Crime & Cases May 17, 2012  RSS feed


Cell Phone Links Man To Maspeth Break-In
by Robert Pozarycki

Genetic evidence from a cell phone left at the scene of a Maspeth burglary last December reportedly led police to an incarcerated Bronx resident who was charged last Tuesday, May 8, for his alleged role in the break-in, police reported.

He was identified by authorities as 35-year-old Neftali Garcia of Holland Avenue, who was arrested in Manhattan last month and ordered held without bail on unrelated assault and weapons possession charges.

Prosecutors said that Garcia and a second man—31-year-old Edward Tavarez of Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan—allegedly teamed up to break into a home on 53rd Road between 73rd and 74th streets in Maspeth at around 4 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 19, 2011.

As previously reported in the Times Newsweekly, officers from the 104th Precinct responded to a 911 call from an eyewitness who observed two men wearing dark masks, dark clothing and black shoes breaking into the location.

Upon their arrival, authorities said, the officers spotted one of the perpetrators jumping out of a secondfloor window and into the backyard. Despite injuring his left ankle while making the leap, police sources said, the suspect managed to run through the yard to an adjacent property on 53rd Avenue.

Officers reportedly went around the block to the front of the 53rd Avenue location, where Tavarez—who was wearing a navy blue ski mask, a black shirt and matching pants, gloves and sneakers—was stopped by police as he exited a yard.

During questioning and a search, the officer found in Tavarez’s possession a 9mm pistol loaded with five live rounds. Authorities determined that the burglary suspects allegedly shattered a glass balcony door, broke a locked bedroom door, ransacked the bedroom and opened and damaged several kitchen cabinets.

Tavarez was charged with firstand second-degree burglary, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief, law enforcement sources said. He remains in custody on $250,000 bail and is awaiting trial, according to court records.

In the course of their investigation at the Maspeth home, according to information provided by the Queens District Attorney’s office, officers found a cell phone which did not belong to the resident. An officer with the NYPD Evidence Collection Team collected swabs of the phone for potential DNA evidence, which were then transported to the police lab for genetic testing.

Following analysis, the criminal complaint noted, it was determined that the DNA on the swabs matched the genetic profile of Garcia, who was previously convicted of a felony.

Members of the 104th Precinct Detective Squad booked Garcia last Tuesday on charges of burglary, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief. He was arraigned later that day in Queens Criminal Court before Judge Michael Yavinsky, who ordered him held without bail.

Garcia is scheduled to return to court on May 23.