Today’s news:

Burglary spree hits Maspeth

Residents in northern Maspeth are dealing with a spate of burglaries near 73rd Street, civic leaders and police said last week.

Five homes in the area had been broken into between Feb. 19 and Feb. 23, police said.

“I think the most important thing is to let the community be aware of what’s going on,” said Citizens Of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together President Roe Daraio. “Because unbeknownst to most people, burglars are caught because of the neighbors reporting a suspicious person. Because the police don’t know who’s in the houses and the police can’t see behind the houses.”

On Feb. 19 sometime before 4 p.m., a number of items were stolen from a construction site on 69th Place. Then on Feb. 20 a man opened his front door and was punched in the face by an intruder apparently trying to break in, Daraio said.

Three more incidents were reported in the area Feb. 23. A home on 67th Street was broken into by someone who threw a brick through a rear window. At a house on 73rd Street, residents returned home after 3:30 p.m. to find jewelry and other property had been stolen.

In Middle Village Feb. 23, a woman in a home on 79th Street heard a noise at the back of the house and when she went to check, she spotted a man trying to pry open her window with a crowbar. The would-be burglar, described by police as a Hispanic man weighing around 200 pounds, fled without taking anything.

Burglaries were on the rise in the 104th Precinct last month, with 33 reported break-ins during the 28 days leading up to Feb. 21. That number marked a 37.5 percent increase from the 24 reported for the same period of 2009.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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