NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are on the lookout for a burglar targeting homes in the middle of the night in the Emerson Hill section of Staten Island.

The upscale neighborhood — known for its expensive, gated homes and panoramic views of the Verrazano Bridge — has been plagued by a rash of burglaries in recent weeks.

CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne reports the latest break-in occurred Wednesday night.

Police said the suspect jimmied a window to get into the house and set off the alarm when he opened the basement door.

The 86-year-old homeowner said she woke up and ran out of her bedroom to find the man in dark clothes sprinting down the steps.

Police said it appears the suspect left empty-handed.

Emerson Hill resident Justine Pasaturo said the crime spree brings back memories of the so-called Ninja Bandit who she believes broke into her house several years ago.

The dark-clothed suspect gained notoriety for burglarizing nearly two dozen homes in and around Emerson Hill in 2007.

Police closed the case a year later when the prime suspect was deported to Albania but residents have always speculated whether the true criminal had actually been caught.

“We just worry about the security of the neighborhood,” Pasaturo said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the same guy or a new guy. There have been three robberies on this hill.”

The NYPD has been patrolling the neighborhood and officials said they do not believe the recent rash of burglaries is the work of the ninja burglar.

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