Burglar jailed after stealing $100,000 from Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island

Luis Mercado and an accomplaicane stole $100,000 from the safe of Coney Island’s beloved Gargiulo’s Restaurant during a 2022 break-in
Luis Mercado and an accomplice stole approximately $100,000 from the safe of Coney Island’s beloved Gargiulo’s Restaurant during a 2022 break-in.
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A 34-year-old man was sentenced to eight years in prison after he burglarized a popular Coney Island restaurant and made off with $100,000 from its safe, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Tuesday.

Luis Mercado, from Coney Island, and an accomplice were caught on surveillance cameras breaking into Gargiulo’s Restaurant at 2911 West 15th St. at around 2 a.m. on June 29, 2022, according to Gonzalez’s office.

The owner of the restaurant reported to police that about $100,000 in cash was missing from a back office safe following the break-in.

Detectives from the 60th Precinct recovered video surveillance from numerous locations in the area that tracked Mercado and his accomplice as they traveled from Mercado’s home on West 33rd Street to Gargiulo’s and back, the DA’s office said.

Mercado was then captured on camera in his building’s elevator removing a blue surgical mask that was covering his face during the burglary. He was arrested on July 6, 2022 and indicted on charges of second-degree grand larceny and third-degree burglary.

A bench warrant was issued for Mercado’s arrest after he jumped bail and failed to appear in court on Aug. 22, 2023. He was arrested subsequently arrested on Sept. 12, 2023 for allegedly burglarizing a Lower East Side nightclub and on Jan. 31, 2024, he was rearrested and charged with second-degree bail jumping.

Mercado pleaded guilty to those charges on March 11, and was sentenced on April 23 by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joanne Quinones to two concurrent prison terms  — one of four to eight years and another of one-and-a-half to three years in jail.

“Beyond breaking into Gargiulo’s, a beloved Coney Island landmark for more than a century, this defendant is a serial burglar who has shown that he will continue to commit crimes if he remains at large, necessitating today’s prison sentence,” Gonzalez said in a ststement. “My office is committed to protecting the property of everyone in Brooklyn and to holding offenders to account.”

Gargiulo’s was founded in 1907 by the Gargiulo family, and has been considered a local landmark ever since.