Police nabbed an alleged Throggs Neck thief on Monday, March 23, but the man – a repeat offender – is back on the street.
According to the Bronx district attorney, Roger Porcelli spent four years in jail from 2005 to 2009 for a Calhoun Avenue burglary. Following his February 18 release, Throggs Neck suffered a string of thefts.
Porcelli hasn’t been charged with purse-snatchings on E. Tremont, Lafayette and Hollywood avenues, but 45th Precinct Captain Dimitrios Roumeliotis suspects that the 44-year old was involved. Schools and offices were targeted.
“He walks in like he’s delivering food,” Roumeliotis said. “Like he belongs. When you let your guard down, he slips away with your purse or wallet.”
On Sunday, March 29, a thief visited the Greek American Institute school on Bruckner Boulevard and made off with the principal’s purse. The next day, the assistant principal’s purse disappeared.
“Sunday was our Greek Independence Day play,” said John Korres, a school trustee. “Someone walked into the office and took the purse. Then it happened again.”
According to Korres, police found the second purse across from a Pelham Bay laundromat. The laundromat’s security camera caught a middle-aged man on tape. No one from the school witnessed the theft.
“This guy was amazing,” Korres said. “Nobody realized he was a stranger. Nobody saw him do it, so we can’t press charges.”
On the afternoon of March 23, someone removed a pocketbook from a Westchester Square doctor’s office. A quick 911 call gave police the tip they needed to nab Porcelli. Charged with grand larceny, Porcelli will return to court on June 3. He recently posted $3,000 bail. Roumeliotis asked 45th Precinct residents to watch their wallets and purses assiduously.
“I can assure you, he will try again,” the police captain said. “But we have officers trailing him day and night.”
The Greek American Institute will install security cameras and a video intercom soon.
“We’re an open community.” Korres said. “We feel safe together. But we need to be more aware. We need to tighten up, so this doesn’t happen again.”
During the week of March 23 to March 29, there were 14 grand larcenies in the 45th Precinct, compared with ten over the same span last year. As of March 29, the precinct had reported 94 grand larcenies for 2009, the same number as last year.