POSTED: 1:46 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2010
NEW YORK — The home of fed-up former JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater was burglarized by his partner's brother, prosecutors said Wednesday.
John Rochelle made off with a laptop, printer and a microwave after breaking into the home his brother Ken shares with Slater in Belle Harbor, Queens, on Oct. 14, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The 39-year-old was awaiting arraignment on charges of second-degree burglary. It wasn't clear if he had an attorney, and there was no answer to a call at the address provided by authorities. Brown called the incident a "crime of opportunity."
Prosecutors initially said the burglary occurred Tuesday, while Slater was in court pleading guilty to attempted criminal mischief after he famously opened an emergency chute on a plane.
Slater's publicist, Howard Bragman, said he didn't wish to discuss the case.
A day earlier, Slater avoided jail under a plea bargain that requires him to undergo counseling and substance-abuse treatment for at least a year. He must also pay $10,000 in restitution to JetBlue Airways Corp. If he successfully completes the program, the top charge will be dismissed and he will get a year of probation and no jail time.
He admitted he pulled the emergency chute Aug. 9 on a flight from Pittsburgh after it landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Slater went on the public-address system, swore at a passenger who he claimed had treated him rudely, grabbed a beer and slid down onto the tarmac.
His departure made him an instant celebrity. He was a topic on TV shows and online, and his exploits landed him on the front pages of newspapers. Many cheered him for standing up to the often-inhospitable world of airline travel, while others accused him of childish and dangerously reckless behavior.
Slater was initially charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing and faced up to seven years in jail. Under the plea bargain, if he fails to complete the counseling and treatment to a judge's satisfaction, he will get one to three years behind bars.
Slater said Tuesday outside court that he was surprised by the publicity his stunt garnered. He thanked the court, adding: "At the end of the day, I'm a grown-up and I must take responsibility for my actions."