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Police Seek Suspected Thief Posing As Repairman In Bronx

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police are searching for a serial impersonator who's accused of stealing from at least eight elderly people in the Bronx.

The suspect allegedly posed as a NYCHA worker, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported Thursday.

The most recent theft happened at a building near Lincoln Avenue and 138th Street.

A man dressed as a maintenance worker told a women he was a NYCHA employee in order to get into her home. Once inside, he stole the woman's purse, according to police.

"So he says, 'There's problems with the hot water. I would like to check it.' So I said OK," Victor Perez, who also fell for the scam, told Duddridge.

Phony Repairman Bronx Burglary Suspect
(credit: NYPD)

Perez was having issues with his hot water. So he didn't think twice when a man wearing an orange vest came to his door and said he was there to fix the problem.

It happened on July 5. Investigators later caught the man on surveillance video.

"I went to the kitchen. I thought he would follow me into the kitchen," Perez said.

Instead, the suspect walked through the living room then suddenly ran out the door.

"Said, 'I had to leave, I had to go, I'll come back later.' I said wait a minute. But that was too late already," said Perez.

The suspect got away with his wife's purse.

"My wife says, 'Where's my pocketbook?'... I said, 'Oh my gosh, he took it!' That was the reason he walked out so fast," Perez said.

His wife's MetroCard, house keys and credit cards were in the purse.

Perez immediately called police. But, he said a charge popped up on a credit card before he had time to cancel it.

"He went to Luna Park in Coney Island," Perez said.

Less than an hour before Perez was robbed, police said the impersonator went to another unit upstairs and stole from an 81-year-old woman.

In total, investigators believe the suspect targeted eight apartments between May 26 and July 12. They said he stole cellphones, purses, cash, credit cards, and important documents like driver's licenses and social security cards.

"I don't open to the door to nobody," one person told Duddridge.

"If I don't put in a ticket, and if you come to my house I'm not opening my door," said Annette Ford. "I'm too smart for that game."

But this thief has been convincing. Officials are reminding people not to let anyone in unless you've already requested their help.

No one was hurt in any of the incidents.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.


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