Dec. 14, 2018 By Laura Hanrahan
A man who allegedly made a living stealing packages from homes in Maspeth while posing as a bottle scavenger, and whose victims included a staffer at a local elected’s office, has at last been arrested.
George Abel, 54, was arrested last week and charged with petit larceny after allegedly running a ruse with a partner where they would steal packages from area stoops while pretending to push a shopping cart filled with cans and bottles.
Abel allegedly pushed the cart while his accomplice would steal the packages and hand to him, which he would then place into the cart before fleeing.
The Maspeth-area culprits even stole a package from a staff member at Council Member Robert Holden’s office—a move that would ultimately lead to Abel’s arrest.
Holden described the series of events at the Community Board 5 meeting on Dec. 12, where he said his staffer was able to obtain security camera footage of the crime, which was then posted on the council member’s Facebook page in late November.
Soon after posting, Holden’s office received a tip about the package-stealing thieves, which was then passed on to the 104th Precinct.
Just one week later on Dec. 4, police made the arrest.
While unclear as to how long the ruse went on for, Abel and his partner had allegedly been operating in the area for “quite some time,” Holden said at the community board meeting.
“That was his job, his business, stealing packages,” he said.
After his arrest, Abel apparently admitted to his involvement in the package stealing scheme, Holden wrote in a Facebook post published today.
He was released on recognizance and will appear in Queens Criminal Court in January. Abel’s partner, however, is still at large.
Locals appeared pleased with news of the arrest, but were wary of Abel’s release.
“I am happy he was apprehended, but back on the street again,” one user wrote on Holden’s Facebook post. “Who’s to say he won’t do it again? Everyone stay vigilant. Tis the season…unfortunately.”
Holden reminded constituents to be vigilant and careful with their packages in his Facebook post.
“Please be aware that package thieves are out there, especially during the holiday season, and my office is committed to bringing them to justice,” he wrote.