NAUGATUCK — Authorities Friday charged an ex con with a spree of home burglaries in Naugatuck that left building owners with thousands in repair bills.
Nick Ortiz, 34, was linked to the series of break-ins after police matched blood drops he left at a crime scene to a DNA database.
Police investigated the thefts in January 2013 after a house that was under construction on Prospect Street was targeted. A thief had smashed his way into the home through a basement window, then had cut away all the copper pipes that led to two furnaces. About $2,200 in damage was done during that burglary, according to police.
Days later, police found that a thief had cut a window screen to sneak into a home on Union City Road. Electrical wiring and copper had been looted from the home, but key evidence was left behind — Ortiz’s blood, which was found on plastic sheeting, the floor and a hacked-off pipe.
Another home was targeted on Prospect Street, but that burglary wasn’t reported until February 2013 when a couple who was buying a foreclosed home found a rear door had been forced open.
Although police submitted blood samples found at one of the homes to a state lab in February, they didn’t get the results until October.
Detectives found Ortiz in a state prison where he was serving a year in prison for a separate burglary. He admitted to detectives that he broke into at least three homes in Naugatuck and marked the locations by drawing “Xs” on a map.
“I need help with my drug habit and would like to start over,” he told detectives. “If I can pay the owners back, I will try to do that as well.”
Waterbury police also charged Ortiz with several city break-ins, including looting homes on Oak Street, Clowes Terrace and Ridge Street.
Ortiz was arraigned Friday in Waterbury Superior Court, where authorities charged him with multiple counts of burglary, larceny and trespassing.
Ortiz has convictions for drug-related crimes and escaping custody. He’s now being held on bonds totaling $80,000.