Four men have been charged in a burglary ring that saw them allegedly stealing more than 1,300 items from homes in Erie, Niagara and Genesee counties.
Authorities believe the 33 burglaries and one robbery that the men have been charged with were fueled by drug addictions. Among the items taken were prescription drugs, jewelry, portable electronics and guns.
Twenty-one of the burglaries took place in Erie County, 10 in Genesee County and three in Niagara County. Two search warrants were also executed in Niagara County, where they recovered more than 1,300 items of stolen property.
Law enforcement officials say many of the items taken were family heirlooms, which they’re now working on returning to the victims.
Here is a map of where these burglaries took place:
John Battaglia, James Baglio, Kyle Wade and Matthew Ratel are facing charges in Niagara County and will face additional charges in other jurisdictions. The number of burglaries they’re accused of committing could go up.
They face up too 135 charges in Erie, Niagara and Genesee counties. Law enforcement officials say more charges could be on the way.
It was several burglaries in Niagara County that got the attention of authorities. The Niagara County Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant for an apartment building, which is connected to a friend of one of the suspects.
"It was like a pot at the end of the rainbow," said Sheriff James Voutour of the discovery. "It was multiple pieces of jewelry and some electronics."
Authorities say they also multiple guns. About two dozen were stolen from one home alone.
Officials say that prescription medications were taken as well.
"There's obviously a very attractive market for prescription medications, and we also believe they were also probably using them themselves," said Captain Gregory Savage with the Erie County Sheriff's Office.
All of the burglaries were done in broad daylight. Due to prescription drug abuse, officials say daylight burglaries have spiked in recent years.
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