Authorities in New York are investigating whether a veteran NYPD detective is part of a larger burglary crew.
Manhattan Special Victims Unit cop Rafael “Ray” Astacio, 39, was arrested along with three others, after a break-in at a Long Island home earlier this month and charged with second-degree burglary. The 14-year police veteran was freed on $2,500 bail and suspended from the NYPD without pay a day after his arrest.
Astacio is now the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Suffolk County Police Department and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office who are now probing whether he works with a team that pulled off other burglaries in New York City. The investigation is part of a larger attempt to determine whether Astacio was involved in corruption during his years as a vice cop and sex-crimes investigator.
Astacio and his three alleged accomplices were caught June 3 after breaking into a Lindenhust home belonging to Anastasios Matheos, according to court documents.
The court papers say the crew entered the home through the backdoor and was leaving with $2,500 worth of jewelry when cops from Nassau and Suffolk County and FBI agents busted them.
Matheos, 64, who was not home at the time of the burglary, arrived home from church around 9 p.m. to find police swarming his property.
“They told me there was a robbery and they got the guys,” Matheos told the New York Daily News.
Matheos said the burglars didn’t ransack the place, but instead went for the jewelry belonging to his wife, Lasiliki, 60, and his daughter Eleni, 27.
The suspects arrested along with Astacio were identified as Paul Adams, 46, Michael Brown, 24, and Joseph Alacqua, 31. All are free on bond, NBC New York reported.
Investigators had already been tailing Astacio because they were eyeing him for other heists, the New York Post reported.
Astacio returns to court Aug. 9, Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman Robert Clifford told msnbc.com
During his time as a squad detective, Astacio was involved in several high-profile cases, including the arrest of a man who posed as a gynecologist to molest women who answered help-wanted ads and the arrest of a Queens man charged with abducting a passed-out woman from a nightclub and raping her.
Astacio joined the NYPD in 1995 and made more than $100,000 in 2010 in salary plus overtime, the Daily News reported. He was named in a 2009 false-arrest suit after Jose Gonzalez-Pena was busted on a gambling rap and then held in jail on a warrant that was actually for someone else. Gonzalez-Pena sued the city and Astacio and won a $25,000 settlement.
More content from msnbc.com and NBC News:
- NBC exclusive: Matt Sandusky details sex abuse by his father
- Report: Missing oil tycoon's wife had sought divorce
- Video: As burglars break in, calm teen dials 911
- Supreme Court ruling leaves Arizona illegal immigrants on edge
- Teen lesbian couple shot in Texas park