Police: Man arrested in rash of home break-ins, car thefts

Nassau police say they've arrested the man behind seven home burglaries and break-ins in the county dating back to 2014.

The break-ins targeted homes in Wantagh, Massapequa, Syosset, Woodbury and Plainview.

Authorities say 30-year-old Charles Stewart, of Huntington, was arrested Saturday after a neighbor spotted him running out of a backyard on Bellaire Street in Wantagh early in the morning.

Officers tracked him down in a minivan nearby, but they say he fled when they attempted to question him. Neighbors say Stewart attempted to get away by swimming in a canal, but he was apprehended a short time later.

Police say a woman was the driver of the minivan, and a gun was found in the vehicle. The woman, 43-year-old Diana Maben, was also taken into custody.

Police are describing the pair as a burglary pattern team.

In two instances, Stewart allegedly used keys found inside the homes he targeted to steal cars that were parked outside. The cars were both recovered weeks later.

Other proceeds from the burglaries included jewelry, cash, a designer handbag, a safe, a hoverboard and other items.

Stewart is facing a slew of charges, including seven counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of grand larceny, criminal weapon possession, and assault with intent to cause physical injury to an officer after officials say one officer was injured while pursuing him.

Maben is being charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

Police say Stewart has 13 prior arrests and three prior felony convictions. At his arraignment Sunday he was ordered held on $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash bail.

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