A Ridgewood man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a 2012 home invasion and subsequent extortion attempts in Westchester County.
Bartek Zajkowski, a 23-year-old Polish national living illegally in the United States, barged into a couple’s Bedford Hills home on May 5 and tied up the husband with duct tape and plastic ties before shooting the wife in the stomach with a BB gun during a struggle, according to a press release from the Southern District of New York of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
After shooting the wife, Zajkowski, who previously worked for a contractor at the couple’s home in 2010, tied her up and demanded to know where any expensive paintings or gold and silver jewelry were located.
During his search for the items, the wife was able to free herself and activate the home’s alarm system. Zajkowski then escaped the residence with nothing but the husband’s wallet.
On May 7, Zajkowski burned down a barn located on the couple’s property.
On May 14 and 17, the victims received two letters from Zajkowski demanding $3 million in exchange for the safety of the couple and their three children.
On June 1, the FBI and other area law enforcement agents arrested Zajkowski in connection with a September 2011 home invasion in Ridgefield, Conn.
Zajkowski’s sentence for the Bedford Hills incident will be served consecutively to any jail time handed down for the Ridgefield crime, of which charges are still pending.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, praised law enforcement’s work and wished the victims well in the press release.
“Now, thankfully, the nightmare is over and we hope the victims can breathe easier,” Bharara said. “Mr. Zajkowski will be locked up for a long time. The conclusion of this case is a tribute to the cooperative and devoted efforts of law enforcement at every level.”