Gotcha! Morris Park patrol grabs daylight crook

NOT IN MY HOUSE: Retired NYPD detective Henry Ruiz — with a boost from the Morris Park Community patrol — chased down a bandit who allegedly broke into his Hone Avenue home last week.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

This alleged petty thief picked the wrong Morris Park home to break into.

A retired police detective tracked down a bandit who he claims snuck into his Hone Avenue home and grabbed cash in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday, July 17.

And he got a serious boost from a neighborhood watch group.

In a scene ripped from the pages of an action movie script, homeowner Henry Ruiz teamed up with the Morris Park Community Association’s civilian patrol to track down the alleged crook after a chase through the residential neighborhood’s streets.

Shirtless scamper

Ruiz was sleeping on his couch just after 1 p.m when he claims a white male wearing a white shirt and black shorts entered his home on Hone Avenue between Rhinelander and Morris Park avenues through a window. The miscreant then allegedly grabbed some cash from a nightstand, before knocking it over — waking the retired NYPD detective from his slumber.

The alleged scoundrel then hopped out of the window and took off down the street toward Rhinelander Avenue, said Ruiz.

The tattooed 20-year police force veteran hightailed it after the cash snatcher, who he spotted changing out of his white t-shirt into a black tank top at the street’s corner.

It was then that Ruiz spotted the familiar blue and white Morris Park patrol car, driven by volunteers who cruise the neighborhood alerting the authorities to crime.

Ruiz — himself, wearing just a pair of shorts — hopped into the back of the car. The volunteers on patrol, who requested to stay anonymous, started following the alleged rapscallion down Rhinelander Avenue toward Paulding Avenue.

As the patrol car approached the man Ruiz says unlawfully entered his home, the man took off running. Patrol volunteers are instructed not to chase suspects, but Ruiz himself hopped out of the patrol car and chased down the alleged bandit.

The shirtless former fuzz scampered some five residential blocks before pinning the pilferer down on Rhinelander and Mulliner Avenues.

Neighborhood love

Ruiz says he could not have done it without the Morris Park volunteers.

“I cannot say anything bad about them,” he said. “They did a great job.”

The president of the community group that runs the patrols said he was glad to be of service.

“Our job is to look after people in our community,” said Tony Signorile, president of the Morris Park Community Association. “And in this case, we did that.”

Cops at the 49th Precinct soon swooped in to make the arrest and charge the man with attempted burglary. But not before Ruiz sent a parting message to the man he says broke into his home.

“I told him don’t show up on this street again,” Ruiz recalled saying.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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