Traveling Band of Thieves Strikes Nassau Homeowners - NBC New York

Traveling Band of Thieves Strikes Nassau Homeowners



    Police on Long Island are warning about a cunning band of thieves. (Published Friday, June 11, 2010)

    Police in Nassau County are warning residents about traveling thieves who have struck several upscale Long Island communities.

    The thieves have struck four times since June 4, cops say, hitting homes in Roslyn Heights, Great Neck, East Hills, and Albertson.

    "He gained my confidence and I feel very stupid about it,” victim Donald Puttlitz told NBCNewYork.

    On Friday, a man knocked on Puttlitz's door and led him to the backyard to show him how he could repair Puttlitz’s wall. While they were talking in the backyard, another man went into the house through the front door and ransacked the master bedroom.

    "He said hold on, I’ll be right back,” Puttlitz said. “And when he didn't come back in 10 minutes, I went back to the front and I noticed that the door was open."

    Gone was the gold necklace he bought his wife Barbara twenty years ago, as were his daughter's Louis Vuitton handbags and $800 in cash.

    Despite the financial loss, the Puttlitz family is just glad nobody was hurt.

    “If I were in the house and this man approached me,” said Barbara Puttlitz. “Who knows, he might have had weapons.”

    Detective Lieutenant Ray Cote, Commanding Officer of the Third Squad, said there are at least three men working together. One man distracts the homeowner while the others rob the home, he said.

    According to Cote, the manner in which these burglaries have been carried out are similar to a string of burglaries in February. But Cote does not believe the thieves are local.

    "They travel up and down the coast with the seasons,” said Cote.  “This is spring which is a very typical time for them to do these type of crimes."

    Until police arrest the men, they urge residents exercise caution.

    “If someone comes to your house asking you to check something out outside,” said Cote.  “Lock your front door before you follow them out because that’s how they are getting in.”

    Police urge anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers hotline, 1-800-244-TIPS.