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Post date: February 13 2004

Leader Of Central New York Burglary Ring Sentenced To Thirty Years

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the leader of an upstate burglary ring, who fled the jurisdiction after indictment, has been apprehended and sentenced to 30 years in state prison.

Maria Lakatosz, 26, was ordered by Honorable Biagio J. Distefano to pay a $10,000 fine and make $1,220 in restitution to the victims of the crimes for her March 2003 conviction on two counts of Burglary in the second degree, class "C" felonies; and two counts of Petit Larceny, class "A" misdemeanors.

Lakatosz was apprehended on February 3, 2004, in Brooklyn by the New York City Police Department. The defendant's flight from prosecution resulted in the forfeiture of a $100,000 bail bond.

Over a period of 18 months beginning in September of 2000, Lakatosz, working with a number of accomplices, targeted elderly victims by following them from places such as the parking lot of local shopping centers to their homes and learning their day-to-day routines. Lakatosz would then approach the victims and offer a fabricated tale to gain access to their homes. Upon gaining entry, she would distract her victim while her accomplices rifled through personal belongings, stealing cash, jewelry, and other valuables.

The defendant used a number of aliases including Maria Lakatos, Maria Kwiek, and Maria Lakatur.

The New York State Police, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, the Village of Canastota Police and the Town of Manlius Police contributed to the investigation and prosecution of the defendant.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General James J. Mindell under the direction of Deputy Attorney General J. Christopher Prather of the New York Attorney General's Statewide Organized Crime Task Force.