NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Shortly before 11 a.m. on January 9th, 2013 there was a crime that is not commonplace in New Rochelle -- an armed burglary/home invasion at 17 Willow Avenue near the College of New Rochelle. Two men entered the home -- a male, black, 6' 0" dressed all in black carrying a handgun with a wooden handle and a male, hispanic, 5'10", stocky build, wearing a knitted hat.
A woman residing at 17 Willow Drive came home to find the burglary in progress. She was thrown to the ground and a gun held to her head while her hands were bound behind her with a telephone cord. She was thrown on the bed. The two suspects continued to ransack the house. They then stole cash and fled in a Black BMW. The vehicle may have been seen a short while later driving down Pelham Road/Echo Avenue towards I-95.
The case was never solved (anyone with information is urged to contact the NRPD at 914-654-2300) but sources tell Talk of the Sound that a person of interest in the case was the boyfriend of the victim's daughter. The daughter and her boyfriend lived next door in the two-family house at 17 Willow Drive. The interest stemmed from a theory -- and that is all it is at this point -- that the boyfriend knew his girlfriend's mother kept large amounts of cash at home from time to time and tipped the burglars to what was expected to be an easy score.
Kyle Figueroa is the boyfriend -- and a name well-known to Talk of the Sound readers.
Kyle Figueroa is a part-time security guard working for the New Rochelle Board of Education who has been bounced from school to school rather than fired despite numerous problems and complaints involving Figueroa. This is inexcusable in any case but in this case Figueroa is not a full-time employee, he has no contract and he is not a FUSE member. No matter what he does or who complains, Figueroa remains on the job.
On November 14, 2013 Figueroa's father, Michael Figueroa, 52, of Mount Vernon, NY was arrested as part of a crew responsible for more than 45 commercial and residential burglaries that netted the group approximately $10 Million in cash and property. The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York who has been nominated by President Obama to replace Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney. Also announcing charges was Kathleen M. Rice, Nassau County District Attorney; George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; New York Field Office (FBI); Thomas V. Dale, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department; Toni Weirauch, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS); and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD).
The case received a great deal of attention because one of the crew, Rafael Astacio, was a a detective with the New York City Police Department at the time of the burglaries. Rafael Astacio was arrested in June 2012 along with three other men, Paul Adams, Michael Brown, and Joseph Alacqua for a burglary of about $2,500. He was then charged a year later, along with Victor Arias, Michael Figueroa, Nikitas Margiellos, and Leonard Repka as part of the $10 million burglary ring.
“The defendants were part of a sophisticated burglary crew that victimized Long Island businesses and residents for more than three years," said Lynch. "Each defendant had a role to play in this band of criminals. The crew relied upon weapons of force as well as modern technology to steal millions from both homes and businesses alike."
If convicted, Arias, Figueroa, Margiellos, and Repka each face a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment, and Astacio faces 17 years’ imprisonment.
Long Island Press reported that the crew "stole cash and property from 51 residences and businesses—including 21 in Nassau, 28 in Suffolk, one in Queens and one in Westchester—between 2009 and 2011. LI towns that were targeted include Baldwin, Carle Place, Hicksville, Freeport, Mineola, Plainview, Syosett, Westbury and Woodbury. The businesses ranged from doctor’s offices, leather goods stores, restaurants, a coin store as well as warehouses for meat, perfume and cigarettes.
To carry out the burglaries, the crew used both traditional burglary tools, such as blow torches, crowbars, wire cutters, and sledge hammers, as well as modern technology, including cell phone jammers and police scanners. In addition, they often conducted surveillance of their burglary victims to determine when the victims would be out of their homes and businesses.
Talk of the Sound does not know there is a connection. What we do know is that our sources have stated that Kyle Figueroa lived in the same house as the victim and was living with the girlfriend. We know as a fact that the crime was similar to some of those committed by the burglary ring, that the ring did at least one burglary in Westchester, that Kyle Figueroa's father was a part of the burglary ring and that Michael Figueroa lived two towns over in Mount Vernon.
Readers are free to draw their own conclusions.
While they do so, parents might wonder why Kyle Figueroa still has a job "guarding" their children.