MERRICK - Police arrested a suspect accused of burglarizing a dozen shops in Nassau County.
Police say 50-year-old Eric Barnett, of Elmont, committed a dozen burglaries across the county since July. Spots allegedly hit by the suspect include pizzerias, liquor stores, bagel shops and cafes.
In most cases, police say Barnett made off with money, cigarettes, lottery tickets and other items. They add he would often break into a shop through the roof.
One of the most recent incidents occurred at Gilbert's Liquor on Merrick Avenue in Merrick. Owner Alex Ferker says he came in the morning after the break-in and found broken bottles and a hole in the ceiling. Security video purportedly shows the suspect leaving through the ceiling hole from which he came.
Nunzio Barreca, the longtime manager of Galleria Pizzeria in Merrick, says the restaurant was left with a hole in its ceiling back in early August and a couple hundred dollars in cash missing.
Police say they eventually caught Barnett, a parolee, early Tuesday after he was allegedly spotted jumping a fence and breaking into the back of the Associated Supermarket in Hempstead.
Barnett has been charged with 12 counts of burglary. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Hempstead court.