Nassau County police last Wednesday arrested a man they believe is connected to a June 20 distraction burglary in Herricks. Authorities say they’re investigating whether this suspect was involved in similar instances in Syosset and Westbury over the summer.
According to police, Frank Nicholas, 27, of White Marsh, Md., was arrested and charged with second degree burglary. Nicholas was being held at Rikers Island on an unrelated charge when Nassau police arrested him, police said.
Nassau Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith said Nicholas wore a yellow hardhat and vest, posing as a National Grid employee named “John” or “Robert” Water,” went to a 79-year-old woman’s home and said he needed to check the water for a gas leak. The woman was told to turn sink faucets on and off while the subject worked in a bathroom near the master bedroom.
“People at , they’re picked on specifically for these kind of crimes,” Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith said.
According to Smith, Nicholas was in the victim’s home with her for 20 minutes, while his accomplice went upstairs to steal assorted jewelry.
While Nicholas was with the victim, Smith said she called a friend on a cell phone to say she’d be late getting somewhere.
“This guy swipes the cell phone away from her and says ‘I have to call my boss right away,’” Smith said. “He calls the number and tells someone, ‘yes I’m still with the homeowner.’ The way we look at it, this is a signal to the guy up on the second floor to get out.”
Smith said the victim was “pretty sharp” in describing Nicholas and the incident, remembering the fake name Nicholas used to enter her home.
Nicholas was arraigned last Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead, where he was held on $75,000 bail or $100,000 bond, according to police. He’s due back in court on Oct. 9.