NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police said the notorious “ninja burglar” has finally been caught more than a decade after his crime spree began.
Robert Costanzo, 49, was arraigned in Staten Island court Wednesday, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.
Prosecutors said the convicted rapist and registered sex offender admitted to roughly 150 break-ins that spanned a decade starting in 2005.
“Rest assured the ninja burglar case has finally been solved,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon said.
Costanzo is accused of terrorizing homes in the middle of the night while disguised as a ninja. Investigators showed CBS2 a picture of the black shirts, pants, and gloves they confiscated from his home.
The district attorney said most of Costanzo’s crimes were across high-end Staten Island neighborhoods. Officials released surveillance video of Costanzo holding a ladder and scouting out a property in Grymes Hill before he allegedly put on the dark clothing and struck.
One of the victims spoke to CBS2 about his encounter eight years ago when he found the bandit at 1 a.m. in his kitchen holding nunchucks.
“And there, standing, facing me was a ninja. A guy dress up as a ninja,” Phil Chiolo said.
Investigators said Costanzo committed dozens of other break-ins across New Jersey, including Bergen County, and also targeted homes in upstate New York and Connecticut.
Police from around the Tri-State area had a meeting about their similar break-in patterns and said that’s how they linked Costanzo to the widespread cases.
“He gave intimate details how he targeted homes between 6:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. under the cover of darkness and checked to see if there were alarms or sirens,” McMahon said.
Even though Costanzo is accused of more than 100 of the crimes, prosecutors can only charge him in connection with three because of the statute of limitations, it’s five years. But they assured CBS2, he’s facing a hefty consequence.
Prosecutors said Costanzo will enter a guilty please in court on Thursday and that’s when he will be sentenced. The district attorney said he will spend decades behind bars.