Earlier this summer, temples in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens were falling victim to a thief with little regard for the sanctity of their sacred relics.
The suspect snuck into temples on 113th Street and 108th Street in Forest Hills, stealing gold and silver torah plates along with other valuable items.
As new Precinct Commanding Officer Thomas Conforti noted Wednesday night, breaking and entering crimes are difficult to solve, unless you catch an intruder in the act.
But one detective, Gregory Bahrenburg, was particularly dogged in pursuit of the suspect, and it earned him "Cop of the Month" recognition in the 112 Precinct this week.
Bahrenburg monitored area pawn shops, looking for a suspect who had a penchant for religious artifacts. It didn't take long, Conforti said, for the detective to close in.
"Detective Bahrenburg identified an individual who was selling religious items that would be exclusive to houses of worship," Conforti said. "We conducted an investigation, and after two-and-a-half months we tracked this individual down and arrested him."
The suspect, according to Conforti, later admitted to slipping into services pretending to be a worshipper, only to pocket the valuable relics when other congregants were distracted.
Roman Iskhakov, 26, was charged with the burglaries by the Queens District Attorney earlier this month. He is currently in jail being held on 200,000 bond, Conforti said.