When the Perkowski family moved into an abandoned home on a quiet Long Island street, their elderly neighbor’s son repeatedly warned them, “The cops are coming. The cops are coming.”
And at sunrise Thursday, a SWAT team finally came.
“I’m lying in bed and I hear ‘Go, go, go,” Larry Bilello told The Daily Beast. “Poghghshsh. I hear the flash grenade.
“I jump up… They smashed the door and ran in with their guns and laid them on the floor and put the cuffs on them and the whole bit.”
Bilello got a first-hand look at the takedown of a pair of Long Island brothers, when Suffolk County police executing a search warrant discovered an arsenal of assault rifles, bomb-making manuals, and neo-Nazi propaganda inside the rundown Mt. Sinai home.
The elder sibling, Edward Perkowski, faces 25 years in prison for charges that includes six counts of weapons and possession of a controlled substance and marijuana possession.
He was held on $200,000 bond.
His brother, Sean, was cuffed on a bench warrant for an unanswered public urination violation, authorities said. He was witnessed Friday returning to his sealed-off home to recover belongings after being fined $50.
Scores of cops folded in to surround the Perkowski’s hideout. And the display of force made Bilello beam. “I was happy,” the 52-year-old contractor said of the moment Edward Dale Jr. and Sean were led out of the home in bracelets. “I’ve been watching them for years.”
On Friday, the brothers sneered at reporters as police escorted them out of the police station and headed to court.
“You want a Nazi salute? Sorry, assholes,” Perkowski seethed. When a CBS reporter asked why he possessed the firearms, he replied, “because they were legally owned when I had them.”
Then he turned to a cameraman and said, “Get the fucking cameras out of my face.”
At a press conference, police shared disturbing photographs taken from inside the neo-Nazi lair.
The brothers allegedly had their hands on a .40-caliber Glock, six assault rifles, four rifles, 25 high-capacity magazines, a shotgun and stun gun. Cops also found marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms, 14 knives, more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition, and $42,940 in cash.
Investigators also discovered a racist manifesto inside a leather-bound binder, along with other Nazi propaganda, CBS reported.
“Today’s search warrant might have prevented a deadly, violent incident like we recently saw in Orlando,” said Tim Sini, commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department.
“To think that this,” Sini added, while gesturing to a photo of Perkowski loot that included a swastika flag and framed portrait of Hitler, “was in the town of Brookhaven was extremely disturbing.”
Friends and family of the Perkowski brothers did not return multiple messages left by The Daily Beast.
Matt Tuohy, an attorney for Edward Perkowski, denied his client was responsible for the arsenal in court on Friday.
“Anything illegal, my client is saying, it’s not attributable to him,” Tuohy said at arraignment, according to CBS New York. “Several people live in the house and have access to the house. My client runs a legitimate military surplus business.”
He was referring to the family’s online store called Valhalla Military Surplus.
The store hawks the run-of-the-mill military wares. They also appear to be patriotic proprietors.
In one Facebook post on the store’s page (inactive since January) a soldier aims a rifle and the caption reads: “ONLY THE MADE IN USA ITEMS. Nothing from china will sneak its way into our shop.” Messages left with the store were not immediately returned.
Tuohy added that Sean Perkowski was unaware of anything illegal inside the residence, CBS reported. The defense lawyer did not return messages left by The Daily Beast.
Still, neighbors have long complained over dustups with the Perkowskis and alleged drug activity at their home.
One resident, Brian Saltzer, told News 12 he was allegedly attacked by the brothers in March after a dispute about a couch on their lawn.
“They think I’m Jewish, they actually threatened to burn me in the oven,” Saltzer told the TV station. “I just wish something was done sooner because we’ve felt threatened for the last three years.”
All In The Family
The Perkowski clan seemed to openly declare their white pride.
A review of Edward Perkowski Jr.’s Facebook profile—under the pseudonym Dale Reinecke—reveals hate-filled and sexist rants in between snaps of his beloved golden retriever. (Perkowski goes by “Dale,” his middle name, or “DJ,” short for Dale Jr., neighbors told The Daily Beast.)
On Facebook he’s known as “Übermensch.”
Under “Work,” Perkowski lists Germany’s radical right-wing National Democratic Party (NPD). He also quotes Hitler and describes himself as an “independent” and “PROUD NATIONALIST.”
Meanwhile, he also appears to back Donald Trump. In May, Perkowski posted a photo of the GOP presidential contender with the words, “Make America White Again!” His father, Edward Perkowski Sr., responded emphatically with, “BUILD THE WALL.”
The younger Perkowski also shared a painting of a lily-white family by a Third Reich artist called “The Aryan Family,” with the words, “Everything I do is for the love of my own people, and not for the hatred of any other!”
Bizarrely enough, his white pride didn’t stop him from quoting the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was the son of Black Panther activists. “This is for all the real motherfuckas out there I know you ain’t scared to die; we all gotta go, y’know?” he wrote in February, alongside a photo of cross grave markers. “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier dies but once.
“I ain’t gone soft in my age. I’ll still kick your teeth in your face with a smile. I refuse to turn pussy like today’s generations. Test me,” he cryptically posted April 21.
Bilello didn’t realize just how dangerous the Perkowski brothers apparently were until the raid on Thursday.
“We didn’t know all this shit was in the house,” Bilello said, referring to the neo-Nazi propaganda. “I knew these people were hatemongers… But I didn’t know they had assault weapons and bombs and everything else.”
Dolores Burd, 61, a family friend, said police “have the entire story blown out of proportion” so that the commissioner can make a name for himself.
“I’ve never heard any kind of racial Nazi crap,” Burd said of Dale Jr. “He’s a collector. That’s all. It’s not against the law to collect World War I and World War II guns.”
Burd, who met the Perkowski family 10 years ago, described Dale as a “good kid” and a “sensitive soul.” She said he often comes over to help her with yard work or anything else she needs done around her house.
“He may come across as tough, but he’s got a soft-side,” added Burd, who said that she’s had his family over for Thanksgiving dinners.
Burd conceded disputes have been brewing between the Perkowski brothers and their neighbors, but that the problem is not all one-sided.
The family had to put up a fence within the last six months to keep testy neighbors from targeting them, Burd claims.
If Dale Perkowski does have a swastika flag, it’s because he sells such items as part of his military surplus store, she said.
“They [cops] set it up to make it look like these people are damn terrorists,” Burd told The Daily Beast. “But there’s no way in hell that’s true. He’s interested in Germany and German history--period. He’s not a Nazi. He’s not a Hitlerite.”
Armed and Dangerous?
Living next to the Perkowski brothers, Larry Bilello felt “like a prisoner” in his home.
His parents did, too.
Aurelio Bilello, Larry’s 84-year-old father, was too afraid to set foot outside without son by his side and concerned about his stroke-riddled 80-year-old wife Marie, who snails around with a walker.
“Everything that was going on across the street at all hours was too much,” Aurelio Bilello told us. “I was scared for the actions that was going on and for my wife.”
Before the Perkowskis, life was “peaceful.” “It was quiet and a nice little neighborhood,” he said. “Nobody bothered anybody. Then they came here.”
His son Larry had been trying to get cops to bust the family. Especially the elder brother, Edward—whom Bilello knew as “DJ” and who later dubbed himself “Dirty Dale.” (Edward allegedly bragged about the moniker, saying: “I grew up dirty. I’m going to be dirty.”)
“He was calling me ‘Neighborhood Watch’” Bilello recalled. “That’s because as soon as Dale set up shop, I was right on his shit.”
The late-night phone calls, and activity that seemed like drug dry dumps—in the mailbox, under the doormat, or in the wheel of a truck—were witnessed by Bilello, who says he phoned in to the Suffolk County cops over a dozen of times.
It wasn’t always suspicions about drugs.
“They stole someone’s wheelchair,” Larry Bilello alleged. “I hear these assholes pull up at 2 o’clock in the morning and they got a motorized wheelchair that they stole from some paraplegic person.”
Bilello claims the brothers’ father, Edward Sr., gave them a talking to. “The father is yelling at them ‘Where did you get the wheelchair?’ and they say ‘We didn’t steal it.’”
“Where do they get a wheelchair at 2 o’clock in the morning?” he added.
For over a year, though, Bilello has remained holed up in his house—not out of fear, but because a court order states he can’t be 500 feet near Edward Perkowski Sr.’s other son, Michael, who used to live in the house with his brothers and who returned from time to time.
“When he comes I’ve got to leave,” Bilello said. “He’s got a hunk of shit yellow van—and when he pulls up I’ve got to go to my house.
“If I’m mowing the lawn I’ve got to go in.”
Bilello was hit with a harassment charge during a Jan. 26 dustup with the Perkowski brothers in the middle of the street.
It was three days after a torrential blizzard and Bilello says he’d shoveled his parents’ snow on the driveway and sidewalk for three hours.
He claims Michael Perkowski, then 26, took a snow blower and aimed it at Bilello.
“The asshole comes home and starts blowing snow in my driveway,” he recalled. “I had to go out there and tell him ‘Don’t do that.’
“Next thing you know I had to get him down.”
The bout between Bilello, a former wrestler, and the 6-foot tall, 220-pound younger Michael Perkowski—“who was in bad shape,” Bilello says—lasted a few minutes.
“I first got him in a headlock and I threw an overbar on him and I had him pinned on the ground and he tried to get up.”
Bilello says he pinned Perkowski down and he claims he had the upper hand before he showed some mercy. Perkowski saw an opportunity and turned the tables. “He flipped me over and got on top of me. He was so winded he laid on top of me.”
When they stood up, Michael Perkowski allegedly told Bilello,“Fuck you, I shoot to kill.”
Bilello had no reason to doubt him.
A few years earlier, Michael Perkowski had escaped 25 years hard time after standing trial in 2009 for firing a rifle whose pellets apparently ricocheted and struck a 19-year-old black man named Raymond Kaine, who had squared off with Perkowski over his use of racial epithets. Kaine survived the shooting standoff with serious injuries that left him partially blind. Perkowski, who pled not guilty, was not convicted of any crime.
“When he said he’s going to shoot to kill me I think that’s pretty threatening,” Bilello told us.
It wasn’t before a city snow plow operator drove by that cops were called to stop the snowy fight between Bilello and the younger Perkowski.
“I’ve gone to court six times now for this,” Bilello said, of both the criminal and civil suits resulting from the snow battle. (Bilello was found at fault in the January fight in criminal court and had to pay a fine. The case for civil damages is ongoing.) “I’m going to fight it till the end.”
He feels as though the law is finally on his side.
He says the cops have condemned the home the Perkowskis were allegedly squatting in, and he hopes they’ll “bulldoze it.”
“After this I plan to get [the case] dismissed,” he said
Still, even if the brothers are gone, Bilello won’t ever stop looking over his shoulder.
“The first person they were coming for was me and second was my half-Jewish neighbor [Salzer]. They were coming for us.
“I guarantee it. I’m number one.”
With the brothers booked, Bilello and his parents hope they can get back to some form of normalcy with the fanatical family’s ouster.
“It’s over now,” Bilello said. “They can’t go back to the house. They got nailed with all this shit. They’re done. Finally.”