Ricardo Zayas-Torres left a distinct calling card when he cracked open a safe inside the Parish of Mater Christi Church and stole $1,100 in collection money two years ago.
Investigators from the Albany Police Department found a spot of blood on the safe that was burglarized inside the church in May 2011. And when DNA from that blood was compared to samples in a state database, Zayas-Torres’ name came up.
Zayas-Torres, 34, who was already serving up to 12 years in state prison, was charged with third-degree burglary last month in Albany County Court. On Monday, he admitted to the count and was ordered to serve up to four years in prison. That sentence will begin after the end of the sentence he is now serving.
“The actions of Mr. Zayas-Torres are deplorable and will never be tolerated,” District Attorney David Soares said in a news release. “With this consecutive state prison sentence added on to the defendant’s previous conviction of multiple counts of burglary, he will have a very long time to think about his actions.”
In October 2012, a jury found Zayas-Torres guilty of three counts of second-degree burglary and one count of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, felonies. Those convictions stem from a string of burglaries in Albany’s Pine Hills neighborhood on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 2011.
Zayas-Torres burglarized two apartments on Western and Washington avenues in the city of Albany. He took several items from the apartments, including a laptop computer, flat-screen television and designer sunglasses, according to Soares’ office.
Additionally, an investigation determined that he had committed another burglary Jan. 21, 2012, at an apartment on Washington Avenue. Several thousand dollars’ worth of jewelry was stolen.
In December, Zayas-Torres was sentenced to 12 years in jail for the burglary conviction and a concurrent term of up to six years for the criminal possession of stolen property charge. His latest conviction could keep him behind bars for up to 16 years.
Zayas-Torres will also have to pay $800 in restitution for damage to the safe and return the $1,100 stolen from the church.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hauf prosecuted the case.