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Police and residents are warning each other about a smooth-talking scam artist who cons his way into apartments and then steals valuables.
Police are hunting for a phony exterminator wanted in at least five burglaries in Brooklyn.
The smooth-talking con artist allegedly knocks on doors in Brighton Beach pretending to have been sent there to get rid of bedbugs. But instead of killing the bugs, he cleans out the jewelry box.
Leora Handlersky was one of his victims.
"I said, 'I don’t have bugs,' and he said, 'It’s not about bugs, it’s about bedbugs,' and that the co-op sent him," Handlersky said.
Handlersky said the suspect told her she didn't personally have bedbugs, but he wanted to spray for prevention and she should wait leave the apartment for two hours while the work was done, to avoid ill effects from exposure to fumes.
She followed the man's instructions, but when Handlersky returned, "I saw my jewelry box was moved and everything in it was gone,” she said.
Police say the same man has scammed at least five people in the neighborhood in the last two months. He always uses the same simple excuse to get the person out of the house.
The co-op board at 2525 West Second St. had a meeting about security. They've also posted signs warning residents to be alert.
"It’s about making sure our doors are closed and that keys aren’t given out just like that to people. Security can only be as secure as they allow it to be," the board president said.
Police are passing out a sketch of the fake exterminator. He's described as a black or Hispanic man between the ages of 28 and 35 with a stocky build and a thin moustache. He wears a dark-colored uniform and carries a canister.