Residents in the typically safe Manhattan neighborhoods of Gramercy and Kips Bay are growing increasingly concerned over a series of burglaries that began in December.
"It's definitely a little scary knowing they can get in the buildings and target people so close to us," said Mary Krutoy, who was startled to learn someone broke into their neighbor's apartment on East 30th Street last month.
Police believe one man is behind the eight break-ins since December. In six of the cases, the suspect managed to get away with laptop computers, a bicycle, a handbag and jewelry. He was scared away the two other times, including the most recent case at an East 28th Street apartment Tuesday morning.
"There are a lot of young people in this neighborhood who are new to New York City and aren't used to how unsafe parts of it can be," said Tiffany McDonough, who lives on the East 18th Street block where five of the burglaries occurred. "I think he sees these victims as vulnerable, and probably assumed he would find a lot of expensive stuff in this building."
Police said the suspect often got in through rear apartment windows. Neighbors worry the suspect has been entering corner playgrounds on their blocks, then climbing the walls and fences to gain access to the back alleys behind buildings.
"We've talked about video security systems for the buzzers, things to keep an eye on the street and the neighborhood," said Jeff Krutoy.
The burglaries have happened at all hours of the day, including the midnight and overnight hours, morning and early afternoon and late-night.
Police Thursday released a sketch of the suspect. Anyone who recognizes the man shown is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or at nypdcrimestoppers.com.