GLEN COVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An Afghanistan war veteran recently got a very rude awakening — his new Long Island dream home was burglarized not once, but twice, shortly after he bought it.
Petty Officer First Class Stephen Moore spent six months protecting his country, and didn’t expect to be targeted on his home turf.
“I said to my wife, ‘Where’s the computer?’ She said, ‘On the bench.’ I said, ‘No,’ then all of a sudden a little panic sets in,” Moore told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.
Moore returned from Afghanistan in April from his third tour of duty with enough money saved to buy his dream house.
After getting the key on July 7, it was a matter of weeks before burglars broke in, and stole thousands of dollars in jewelry, cash, and electronics.
“I mean it wasn’t a lot of valuable stuff, but a ring I gave her when I was in the Coast Guard, watches, and stuff, but she’s had this stuff for years,” Moore said.
Glen Cove Police said the thief sold the jewelry to buyers in Freeport and Glenvale, by then they were already eyeing Michael Petikas as the prime suspect.
Petikas, 31, used to live in Moore’s house, and even though the locks had been changed he clearly knew his way around.
“Turns out one of the windows in the back den was defective and he would know that because he lived in the house,” said Glen Cove police Detective Lt. John Nagle.
As Nagle explained, police posed as buyers and reached out to Petikas. They busted him when he allegedly tried to sell the jewelry to authorities.
“Actually sat on the stairs and slept with a baseball bat because I was afraid for my wife,” Moore said.
Moore told CBS 2’s Brown that he is relieved that the suspect is off the streets. Now, he’s ready to settle down and enjoy his new home.
Petikas has been charged with two counts of burglary.
Police said that Petikas was known to officers and had been seen by neighbors in the area asking for money.
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