At a little past four in the morning, Monday, Kelly received a phone call from his bartender who said he heard two men on the restaurant's roof. Upon arriving on the scene, Kelly, who retired from the police force three years ago, said he caught the two men coming out of an adjacent store, D & P Convenient, with a hand truck loaded with stolen goods.
Kelly and his bartender, who had already called the police, apprehended the two burglars but while waiting for officers from the 104th Precinct to arrive on the scene one of them bolted, Kelly said. In a phone interview later that day, Kelly said he took off after the second suspect, who was later found hiding under a parked car.
"I just kind of reverted back to three years ago and took action as necessary," said Kelly of his civilian's effort to stop the crime in progress.
Officer Tom Bell of the 104th Precinct, who corroborated Kelly's story, identified the men as Jose Gonzalez, from Ridgewood, and Raymond Manning, from Flushing. Both have been charged with burglary and trespassing, among other crimes, said Bell.
An ongoing investigation of the crime scene has uncovered holes cut in the back of multiple fences of adjoining commercial properties on Eliot Avenue. Bell said it is believed the suspects used them to attempt the burglary of several stores at once, a tactic used in the recent, as-of-yet unsolved spat of Middle Village burglaries.
Bell said it's too early to tell if the men arrested on Monday are responsible for the other crimes.
"There's no telling what they're involved in right now," said Bell of the suspects. "It’s an on going investigation."