NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A brazen burglar was caught on camera in Queens.
Police said the suspect is responsible for two break-ins in the same building, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Wednesday.
Surveillance video shows him slowly walking through the apartment, wearing black gloves and a black mask over his face. He heads into another room and then comes right out, looking straight at the camera before turning it away from him.
The couple who lives there told Grymes that out-of-place camera was the main clue that someone had burglarized their apartment inside the Astoria building on Aug. 29.
Police said the suspect stole $13,000 worth of jewelry. They believe he also hit the apartment next door.
“It’s extremely unsettling. We live in a safe neighborhood. We chose this building because it’s super safe. We love where we live, so we’re just shocked that this happened,” a neighbor said.
That neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said the lock was picked and thousands of dollars in valuables were also stolen from his place, including a safe.
“Diamond earrings, a Cartier watch, a Cartier bracelet, passports, Social Security card,” the neighbor said.
Outside the building on Wednesday, owner Tony Giannola was helping to change the locks. He said he’s also adding to the building’s surveillance system.
“Ten minutes ago, I had the camera man over here. He’s gonna do one here and one across here to protect,” Giannola said.
NYPD statistics show burglaries are up in the 114th Precinct, which covers Astoria.
As of Sept. 1, burglaries have jumped 300% week to date compared to last year — from two to eight. Year to date, it’s 117 to 131 — a 12% increase.
All of it, especially these two cases, have been unsettling for the victims and those who live nearby.
“I still consider it pretty safe, but it was pretty shocking to see the video and to know it was so close to where I live,” resident Stephen Greenstreet said.
Police said they have three open burglary patterns in the precinct, so that suspect is not solely responsible for the spike. They are asking anyone with information to come forward.
The suspect is described as Hispanic and 20-30 years of age. He was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, blue shirt and dark shorts.