Suspect caught during in-progress home invasion

By: Cortney Casey | Online Only | Published November 27, 2012

An observant neighbor’s 911 call helped police nab the man they say is responsible for several recent home invasions in the 18 1/2 Mile and Ryan area.

Officers responded to the 5000 block of Adair around 2 a.m. Nov. 23, after a nearby resident reported seeing someone attempting to break into a home, said Lt. Kevin Reese of the Sterling Heights Police Department.

“When police arrived, he was coming out of the side garage door,” he said, noting that the man was carrying lawn maintenance equipment stolen from that home at the time.

According to Reese, the suspect had kicked in that door but had not progressed further than the garage. The victims were home at the time of the break-in, he said, but were inside the house and unaware that the burglary was in progress.

Upon spotting the officers, the suspect allegedly fled the scene, but was apprehended after a brief foot chase and a struggle, said Reese.

Police were then able to locate the man’s vehicle, parked nearby, where they reportedly discovered stolen merchandise from other home invasions and larcenies from automobiles in the area.

No one was injured in the incident, said Reese, and the suspect was not armed.

“As a result of his arrest, and the location of the vehicle, we were able to conduct a valid search on his vehicle and found items from three or four, possibly five, other home invasions in the area,” all of which occurred recently, said Reese.

The suspect, later identified as Sterling Heights resident Anthony Astarita, 22, was arraigned before Magistrate Michael Piatek in 41-A District Court Nov. 26 on charges of first-degree home invasion, a 20-year felony; possession of a stolen financial transaction device, a four-year felony; receiving and concealing stolen property more than $1,000 but less than $20,000, a five-year felony; and resisting and obstructing, a two-year felony.

Reese said first-degree home invasion entails illegal entry into a house where someone is present. The financial transaction device charge is in reference to a credit card found on the suspect, which came from a different burglary, he said.

Astarita’s bond was set at $10,000 cash or surety, and his preliminary exam is scheduled for Dec. 7 before Judge Kimberley Wiegand. Court officials said he requested a court-appointed attorney, but none had been assigned by press time.

Reese said police anticipate additional charges to come in the near future based on Astarita’s suspected involvement in other burglaries and larcenies.