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'Longtime burglar' accused of coming back for more – 10 years later

Burglar Robert Wasyl

Robert A. Wasyl is back in court facing a familiar charge.

In 2007, when Wasyl was sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglarizing the rectory of St. Timothy's Catholic Church in the Town of Tonawanda, he already was described as a "longtime Buffalo burglar."

On Thursday, Wasyl, now 40, was back before the same judge in Erie County Court, to be arraigned on charges of burglary in the second degree for allegedly stealing from the same church rectory on East Park Drive.

A priest awoke to find Wasyl in his bedroom on Sept. 11, according to District Attorney John J. Flynn.

Wasyl fled with a watch and cash, according to prosecutors.

Wasyl was arrested on Sept. 20 by North Tonawanda police in connection with a home invasion in that city, a crime that happened the same week as the rectory break-in. Charges in that case, including burglary and robbery, are pending.

Assistant District Attorney Erin Hart asked Judge Sheila A. DiTullio to deny bail, citing Wasyl's four prior felony convictions and four prior misdemeanor convictions, plus his failure to appear in court as scheduled on two occasions. The judge kept Wasyl in jail.

DiTullio last saw Wasyl when she sent him to prison in 2007 for a brief crime spree in Tonawanda in 2006 that included the burglary of the same church property, and two home break-ins, one involving an elderly man and the other of a homebound woman. He committed those crimes after serving a three-year sentence on a previous conviction for attempted burglary.

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