An Elmont man described by police as a “one-man crime wave” was arrested last week after an ongoing string of burglaries around Nassau County. Eric Barnett was caught in the act of another attempted burglary on Monday, Oct. 11, at 12:20 a.m. Police observed Barnett, 50, climbing over a fence and attempting to force entry into the rear of the Associated Supermarket located at 301 Jerusalem Ave. in Hempstead. The Nassau County Police Department had been investigating a pattern of 16 similar cases that had occurred over the past several months. The arresting officers were on routine patrol and grew suspicious after noticing that Barnett’s car had been left running and unoccupied. Barnett was taken into custody without incident and was reportedly cooperative during questioning.
“This is a great job by our burglary team,” said Police Chief Steven Skrynecki. “This is a good example of the teamwork we’re looking for in the police department.”
Police said Barnett had been arrested 13 times before, mostly for burglary, but was recently paroled. Police have determined that he is largely responsible for the aforementioned burglary pattern; so far Barnett has been connected to 12 of the 16 recent burglaries, with his first occurring on July 8. Notably, each burglary has involved a different food store, including Uncle Bacala’s on Jericho Turnpike in Garden City, Park Place Restaurant in Floral Park and Ralph’s Italian Ices in Franklin Square. Also notable was Barnett’s tendency to force entry into buildings through the rooftop. Skrynecki noted that these facts were crucial in identifying the wave of burglaries as an ongoing problem.
“We always look at the type of burglary, the type of establishment and the time of day in order to establish a pattern,” he said.
Barnett has been charged with 12 counts of third-degree burglary. His arraignment was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12 in Hempstead’s First District Court.