by Josh Eniger
It sounds like a kung fu movie sequel: "Return of the Ninja ."
On Staten Island, it's the real-life story of a burglar who may have struck for the 16th time in four months.
A Staten Island woman heading to bed Friday night encountered a masked intruder on the stairs leading up to her bedroom.
The suspect, dressed all in black, with a matching ski mask, fled the scene after the run-in.
Police linked the crime to 15 previous house robberies on Staten Island since June 6.
The so-called "Ninja Bandit" has slipped into the homes via skylights, windows and front doors, making off with cash, jewelry and a cell phone, police said.
On five previous occasions, the burglar was confronted by homeowners, but managed to escape the scene.
The Friday night incident occurred at the home of John and Mary Ann Carlo, who walked into the burglar while her husband was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom.
"I started screaming, "The Ninja is here! The Ninja!" Mrs. Carlo said.
Although police flooded the area around their Flagg Place home after a 911 call from the couple, the suspect, described as a 6-foot man of medium build, avoided arrest.
While police said none of the homeowners in the robberies were seriously injured, Staten Island homeowner Phil Chiolo claimed that he stabbed the mask-wearing burglar with a steak knife during a Sept. 6 scuffle in his kitchen.
Chiolo said the suspect, who fled the house with the knife handle sticking out of his chest, was wielding a set of nunchucks during the fight.
Police said the burglar entered Chiolo's home through its front door shortly before the 1 a.m. fight.
The incidents have occurred in the Todt Hill, Grymes Hill and Grasmere sections of Staten Island.
Most occurred between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., although the "Ninja " has also struck several times during business hours, police said.