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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2012

DA VANCE: ONE DEFENDANT CONVICTED AND ONE INDICTED IN CONNECTION WITH MULTIPLE BURGLARIES THROUGHOUT MANHATTAN

Cat Burglar Luis Torres Indicted For Three Separate Break-ins of Manhattan Apartments

James Bennett Pleads Guilty For Burglarizing High-End Hotels

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of LUIS TORRES, 50, for burglarizing apartments on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and in Midtown Manhattan. In addition to a large amount of jewelry and electronics, New York City Police Department detectives found more than 100 keys and cards in TORRES’s apartment at the time of his arrest. The defendant is charged with three counts of Burglary in the Second Degree.[1]

District Attorney Vance also announced the guilty plea of JAMES BENNETT, 45, to four counts of Burglary in the Second Degree and 1 count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree covering four incidents of burglary at high-end hotels in Manhattan. BENNETT stole cash, jewelry, accessories, and electronics from guests staying at Jumeirah Essex House, the Plaza Hotel, St. Regis Hotel, and the London NYC Hotel.

“Burglary victims lose more than their money, valuables, and prized possessions — they also lose their sense of security in their own homes,” said District Attorney Vance. “Thanks to excellent police work and aggressive prosecution, offenders who prey upon New Yorkers are taken off the streets.”

TORRES Indictment

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, on September 27, 2011, a victim returned to his apartment on the Upper West Side and found several of his personal items missing, including rings and electronics. On October 21, 2011, a second victim from the Upper East Side returned to his apartment and discovered several items missing, including two university rings and electronics. On November 12, 2011, a third victim returned to his apartment in Midtown Manhattan and found electronics and a personalized flask missing. In each case, the burglary took place during the day, there was no sign of forced entry, and items other than the stolen property appeared mostly undisturbed.

 

Torres has been indicted for all three burglaries. On December 2, 2011, arresting officers searched TORRES’s apartment and found a large amount of jewelry and electronics, as well as more than 100 keys and bent cards of the type often used to gain entry into dwellings. The investigation against TORRES is ongoing.

BENNETT Guilty Plea

At his arraignment today, BENNETT pleaded guilty to burglarizing four high-end hotels in Manhattan. As admitted by BENNETT during his guilty plea, on October 24, 2011, employees at the London NYC Hotel noticed BENNETT loitering near a file cabinet in an employee office area. After being approached by hotel staff, BENNETT left the area. The hotel staff noticed that employee checks were missing from the file cabinet, and later found those checks on top of an ice machine in the direction of where BENNETT left the hotel.

That same day, BENNETT entered a guest room at the Plaza Hotel and stole cash, jewelry, accessories, and electronics. BENNETT also entered a guest room at the St. Regis Hotel and stole a laptop and a suitcase. On July 25, 2011, BENNETT entered at guest room at the Jumeirah Essex House and stole a Chopard watch and Cartier sunglasses.

The case against TORRES is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Alex Spiro, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney William Mahoney, Chief of Trial Bureau 60.

The case against BENNETT is being handled by Assistant District Attorneys Jordan Arnold and Megan Joy, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Mahoney. Assistant District Attorney Raffaela Belizaire, Investigative Analyst Samantha Salkin, Trial Preparation Assistants John Johnsen and John Everett, High Tech Analysis Unit Cell Site Analyst Tanya De Vulpillieres, and High Tech Analysis Unit Director Steven Moran assisted in the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked New York City Police Detectives Mark Fishstein, Michael Dorto and Anthony Diaz of the Major Case Squad, and Detective Albert Velez of the Midtown North Detective Squad for their assistance in the case.

 

Defendant Information:

LUIS TORRES, D.O.B. 8/24/1961

Queens, NY

Charges:

  • Burglary in the Second Degree, a class C felony, three counts

 

JAMES BENNETT, D.O.B. 8/11/1966

New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Burglary in the Second Degree, a class C felony, four counts
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count\

[1]The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

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New York County District Attorney | duggane@dany.nyc.gov | 212-335-9400