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Bartender, ex−cop foil burglary

Two suspected Queens burglars were captured in Middle Village last week by a vigilant bartender and the retired cop who owns the pub next door to the convenience store that the men are accused of targeting, police said.

Michael Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Pub at 82−11 Eliot Ave., was relaxing at home at 4 a.m. March 2 when he called the bar to check in on how bartender Chris Jump was closing up shop.

“We had just done some renovations, so I told him to check the back doors,” Kelly said. “Three minutes later he called me back to say he could hear two people that sounded like they were up on the roof.”

Kelly, who lives two blocks away, drove down to the business and walked down the alley behind it to find people trying to break into the convenience store next door to his bar.

“When I got through the alleyway, I saw they had cut a hole in the fence of the delicatessen,” he said. “I went through the hole and when I got up to the building line, they’d cut a hold in that fence as well. They were exiting the [convenience] store, at which point they were a little startled that I was there.”

Jump grabbed the first man and Kelly grabbed the second one, Kelly said. While they were waiting for police to arrive, one of the burglars wrestled free from Jump and fled down the street. Kelly and police caught up with the man as he hid underneath a car on 81st Street, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney’s office.

Jose Gonzalez, 43, of Ridgewood, and Raymond Manning, 43, of Flushing, were charged with burglary, trespassing, possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of radio devices, the DA said. They were arraigned March 5 and held on $35,000 bail, the DA said. Their next court date is March 18. If convicted, they face up to seven years in prison, the DA said.

Police retrieved four garbage bags in the backyard of the convenience store containing $8,000 worth of Lottery scratch−off tickets, cash and 700 packs of cigarettes taken from the store, the complaint said.

Kelly, 37, who retired from the force three years ago, said the scene did not faze him after working the beat in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“You don’t really forget that kind of training,” he said.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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