WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Under New York's new criminal justice reform law, a 22-year-old man accused of a burglary spree at a Long Island shopping center was released without having to post bail on New Year's Eve.
On Friday, that same man was back behind bars after police say he committed yet another burglary just hours after being set free.
Nassau County police say Gerard Conway broke into four stores on Dec. 29. The 22-year-old allegedly used a flower pot to smash the glass door of a Pizza Hut on Old Country Road. After stealing the cash register, Nassau police say the burglar then broke into three more businesses at The Source Mall in Westbury.
Conway was arrested a day later and charged with 3rd degree burglary, a charge that is no longer eligible for bail or pretrial detention.
Authorities say once Conway was released, he broke into a Bagel Boss in Carle Place around 4:20 a.m. on New Year's Day – less than 24 hours after he was arraigned at First District Court in Hempstead.
Investigators claim the 22-year-old again stole cash registers from the business -- the fifth alleged burglary in four days.
Police identified him as the suspect and re-arrested him on Friday morning. Conway was again charged with 3rd degree burglary.
Under bail reform, judges are prevented from imposing a cash bail regardless of a suspect's criminal history.
"So someone can walk up to someone on the street punch them in the face and if they haven't done lasting physical injury there's no bail available... they'll be let out that day they can go punch someone the next day," CBS2's Urban Affairs Expert Mark Peters explained.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a press conference on Friday that there would not have been another burglary in Carle Place if authorities had been allowed to hold Conway for the initial charges.
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