State prematurely paroles career burglar

March 27, 2008 8:39:26 PM PDT
Authorities are searching for a criminal who was accidentally released by the New York Department of Corrections in what appears to be a huge mistake. The inmate pleaded guilty to his crimes and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglary.

But the suspect was let go more than a month ago.

Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda has the story.

Raul DeJesus confessed to stealing from an apartment inside a brownstone on East 13th Street in the Village and admitted he burblarized another home on East 11th. Each time, he took everything he could carry. But he also left a trail of DNA.

"Sometimes he stays and eats their food and drinks their beverages," defense attorney Brian Konoski said. "And that's how they got the DNA."

Konoski describes DeJesus as a 38-year-old serial burglar who was already incarcerated at a corrections facility in Oneida. He was about to begin serving a separate 10-year sentence he received in a plea deal after confessing to two additional burglaries and admitting to at least five more.

But somehow, mistakenly, he was paroled by the state Department of Corrections a month ago.

"He was done with that sentence he was serving upstate, but they were ordered not to release him," Konoski said. "But they did anyway."

The New York City Department of Corrections says DeJesus was in city Supreme Court earlier this year, but was then transported back upstate to finish out his sentence.

"We kept tabs on Raul DeJesus while he was in our custody in January," spokesperson Steven Morello said. "We returned him to state custody February 19. They told us today that he was paroled February 25."

The state Department of Corrections could not be reached after business to answer why DeJesus was let go. Konoski said the career burglar probably saw the opportunity and just kept walking.

"I was shocked," he said. "I was just floored. To hear that somebody is released is just completely uncommon. I mean, think about it. He is a burglar and has admitted to numerous burglaries."

In his confessions, DeJesus said he snuck in through the fire escape window and walked past a woman sleeping on the couch. She woke up, started screaming and he ran away before being caught by a police officer on a routine patrol.