NEW YORK (CBS 2) – He’s cool, calm and convincing, his victims say.
That’s before he persuades them to let him into their house while they leave and he cleans out the bedbugs.
Or so they thought.
Police are searching for a bedbug con man who is tricking people into their own burglaries.
Police said a smooth-talking criminal is pretending to be an exterminator, conning his victims into inviting him into their apartments before robbing them.
In the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, police have linked the robber to five burglaries over the last two months. Three of those robberies took place in the last week alone.
“Everybody’s pretty aware that there are bedbugs so I guess it was a pretty smart move on his part,” said Bill Citrano, who is the building super where the thief pulled his latest heist on Monday.
The thief—dressed in an official-looking uniform and carrying a canister—got inside and then went door to door until he found someone willing to believe his story and let him inside.
“He was very convincing. He said he was going to spray the bedroom told her to leave. I guess he put on a mask or something to make it look real and he sprayed some smelly stuff and told her not to go back in for half an hour and he left with her jewelry,” Citrano said.
Police describe the suspect as a black or Hispanic male 28 to 35 years old with a stocky build and thin moustache.
Arlene Sherman said her skin is crawling because he’s still out there on the streets.
“It’s very scary because I’m all by myself right now,” Sherman said.
In the building where the thief most recently struck, residents held an emergency security meeting hoping to make sure this doesn’t happen again here.
“We should really have cameras around the co-op, but we don’t so people have to really monitor themselves here,” Sherman said.
Resident Tamara Skiditskya had this advice: “Don’t open if you don’t know who it is.”
Cops agree. Police advise never letting anyone inside your house unless you know them or are expecting them.
The super posted fliers in the building urging residents to be on alert until the criminal is caught.