Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Serial Thief Preys on 20-Somethings at Chipotle, Starbucks in Greenwich Village, Midtown

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The man has stolen laptops, tablets, purses and other possessions left unattended in public places. Lori Bordonaro reports.

    Police are looking for a thief who preys on victims in their 20s as they stop for coffee or a bite to eat near New York University, grabbing wallets, laptops and bags from unsuspecting diners.

    The suspect has stolen property from at least seven people since late February, including four this month, in Greenwich Village, Gramercy Park and the Flatiron District.

    Police say he stole a woman's wallet at a Chipotle on Eighth Street Feb. 28. Three weeks later, he walked into a coffee shop on Mercer Street and took a man's bag, which had a laptop and tablet computer inside.

    Then the frequency of his crimes escalated.

    On March 22, he stole a woman's laptop from a Starbucks on West Fourth Street. The next week, he took a bag from a man at a small coffee shop on East 24th Street, a wallet and computer from a woman at a pizza shop on MacDougal Street and another laptop from a woman on the NYU campus at University Place.

    The most recent theft was last Monday, when he stole a backpack from a woman in a Park Avenue deli. 

    All of the victims for whom police released ages are between the ages of 20 and 28. It's not clear how many may be NYU students. With the exception of the first theft, each crime in the pattern was committed between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 

    No injuries were reported. 

    Police released surveillance images of the suspect (above) and ask anyone with information about him or the crimes to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.