2008_01_diamonds.jpgThe Staten Island Ninja Burglar's 19th robbery (and first of 2008) last week turns out to have been his biggest yet. The Advance reports that the initial $20,000 worth of jewelry nabbed from a mansion on Melhorne Road is now more like $225,000 worth: "Tiffany diamond earrings. A 1 1/2 carat diamond ring. Several 22 karat gold necklaces. A gold watch lined with diamonds." Ninja likes bling!

The thief, who has taken jewelry from other homes, probably isn't selling them to pawn shops and jewlery stores owners on the island, because anyone with that much product would probably raise red flags. One jeweler tells the Advance the Ninja probably takes "his ill-gotten treasures to Manhattan, where big-ticket items are easier to sell." Another hypothesis is the crook knows someone in the "melt-down" business.

As for the police, while they do believe the so-called Ninja Burglar is involved with this latest incident, they hate the name the Ninja Burglar. An unnamed police source has a problem with the Genesis story, courtesy victim Phil Chiolo who claimed a burglar wearing a ninja outfit and carrying nunchucks attacked him, and lets the Daily News know about it:

"The fight, the blood, all bull----," a police source said of the deejay's report. "He wanted to be ... a hero. There may have been an attempted robbery, but the whole story of the fight has been discounted."

"The guy might have had a burglary, but the whole thing abut the ninja and the nunchucks was a crock," said another law-enforcement source.

But it's such a good legend!The police are investigating whether surveillances cameras have captured any images of the Ninja. The NY Times weighed in about the elusive burglar with a Staten Island Journal article and a very intriguing photograph: The Ninja Burglar seems to have broken into Lilia Quinones' house through a window that now has ninja-like swords in front of it!