The suspect in a string of robberies that have plagued the Flatbush area was apprehended by police from the 106th Precinct in Queens last Friday, October 7.
Edward Rabaev, 39, was arrested in Queens at 7:30am and charged with petit larceny, according to police. Three packages were removed from his car upon arrest. A police source from the 70th Precinct said he had stolen five packages within that precinct.
Neighbors on the Facebook Page, “You’re Probably From Marine Park,..,” have complained throughout the past month that packages were also being stolen off of their doorsteps as well. Police couldn’t confirm this suspect was behind those robberies.
Rabaev, who has over two dozen prior arrests, was stealing these packages to fund a cocaine addiction that cost him about $500 a day, according to the police source.
The Flatbush Shomrim helped in the investigation by rounding up security footage of the thief for the 70th Precinct, according to the Flatbush Shomrim. A Shomrim is a Jewish community watch group that helps prevent crime like burglary and vandalism. They are funded by the NYPD but aren’t armed. They cannot make any arrests besides citizen arrests.
Rabaev was driving a stolen gold minivan around the neighborhoods to take boxes from front porches and quickly get away for a little over a month. That stolen van was what alerted police to the suspect in Queens, according to Yeshiva World News.
Unfortunately, this suspect being off the streets doesn’t mean that packages are safe. Complaints of mail getting stolen were reported to Flatbush Shomrim even after Rabaev was in police custody. That means there are other people lurking in the shadows trying to people’s steal mail.
Residents are urged to be careful with having packages left at their doorsteps. If anyone sees someone take a package from a porch or doorstep, then they are urged to contact the police immediately.
[Update October 12, 2016, 12:12pm]: New information has been given to us by the police. Angela Gorelik, 34, was also arrested for these thefts. She was charged in regards to nine incidents that happened throughout multiple Brooklyn precincts. Rabaev was charged in regards to 15 thefts, according to police. Gorelik lives at 444 Neptune Ave, and Rabaev lives at 535 Ocean Pkwy, according to police.
[Update October 15, 2:30pm]: According to 70th Precinct Deputy Inspector James Palumbo, the suspects have been charged with petit larceny, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto, in a total of sixteen cases.
Additional reporting by Carly Miller.