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Police: Suspects Burglarized Queens Bodega, Tried To Escape Through Ceiling

Burglarized ATM

Police said burglars struck this ATM and stole cigarettes, cigars and lottery tickets from a Queens bodega, before trying to escape via the roof. (Credit: NYPD)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Five men allegedly stole merchandise and broke into an ATM before trying to escape a Queens bodega through a hole in the roof – but officers caught them all soon afterward, police said Monday.

Around 2:55 a.m. this past Friday, police were called for a burglary in progress at the JK Deli, at 71st Avenue and Kissena Boulevard in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens.

NYPD Sgt. Richard Lavelle and Officer Michael Gannon – assigned to an anti-crime unit; and officers Gina Ayoung and Michele Lopez – assigned to a patrol unit – all responded to the scene. They found the ATM damaged and a hole bored into the ceiling.

More officers arrived to secure the area while Sgt. Lavelle went through the hole in the ceiling and ended up on the roof, police said. Once there, he found four men hiding on the north wall of the roof of the building.

The suspects ran in separate directions in an attempt to escape. But police caught one of the men in a nearby elevator, while two others went up nearby trees but were arrested by emergency service officers guarding the perimeter, police said.

Lavelle arrested the fourth suspect after a brief struggle, police said.

No one was injured in the arrests.

The officers later learned a fifth suspect had been waiting in a nearby parked vehicle, and he too was arrested, police said.

Police said they recovered over $12,000 cash the suspect allegedly had stolen from the ATM, 3,518 lottery scratch-off tickets, 162 packs of cigarettes, and 49 boxes of cigars. They also found burglary tools – including hammers, a pry bar, a drill, a flashlight, and a propane torch.

The suspects were identified as Robert Martin, 27; Jose Rosario, 25; and Sean Martin, 19 – all of Queens; Christopher Aulet, 21, of Brooklyn; and an unidentified 15-year-old boy.

All the suspects were charged with burglary and possession of burglar’s tools. Martin was also charged with criminal possession of stolen property.

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