Three cousins pleaded not guilty Monday to multiple felony charges in San Mateo County Superior Court after allegedly burglarizing a Redwood City deacon’s house and damaging a neighbor’s fence during their attempted escape, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Daniel Beskalis, 18; John Bill Beskalis, 26; and Peter Tarek Beskalis, 23, who are all Peninsula residents, face charges of burglary, being in possession of stolen property, grand theft, two counts of exhibiting a deadly weapon, battery and vandalism in connection with a burglary.
The deacon works at a Coptic orthodox church in Redwood City, and he and his wife and daughter live in an apartment above the church, Wagstaffe said. On Sunday about 12:30 p.m., during a church service, the deacon’s daughter went up to their apartment and noticed that it had been burglarized. A laptop, cellphones, jewelry and cash were reportedly missing.
She returned to the service and informed her father of the burglary and he asked everyone in the church to remain while the incident was sorted out, Wagstaffe said. At this point, the three defendants reportedly got up and fled the church.
Other members of the church attempted to pursue them until two of the suspects allegedly drew pocket knives.
The three reportedly continued their escape by running into the yard of a nearby residence, damaging a fence, Wagstaffe said. The resident there confronted the suspects about the fence and one of them, John Bill Beskalis, reportedly offered her $40 for repairs.
The 74-year-old victim refused and handed them a hammer and told them to fix it. Surprisingly, John Bill Beskalis and Peter Tarek Beskalis reportedly started doing just that, Wagstaffe said. They were working on the fence when police arrived. Daniel Beskalis was reportedly found nearby and arrested.
One of the victim’s cellphones was reportedly found in John Bill Beskalis’ pocket, Wagstaffe said, and a bag with the rest of the stolen property was found hidden near the church.
The three were in court Monday and appointed an attorney, Wagstaffe said. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and are scheduled to return to court Sept. 19 for a preliminary hearing.