Repair man accused in LI burglaries

June 18, 2008 4:16:39 PM PDT
To most people who live in apartments, a handyman is an invaluable resource. But for some tenants in one apartment complex the man they turn to for help has been arrested and charged with the burglary of their apartments. The primary function of an apartment superintendent and handyman staff is to help manage day to day issues.

So when something would go wrong tenants in building 130 of the Woods Edge apartments thought they knew just who to go to, their handyman, who also happens to live on the same floor.

"He was working all the time. Everytime I see him, he's on the floor downstairs," said Marcos Martinez.

On the surface handyman Eddie Ortiz seems like a hardworking man, but police say he is now under arrest charged with burglary.

Having access to the keys to every apartment on the property, cops say Ortiz got to know tenants during repairs and later when they weren't home broke into their apartments.

Police also say Ortiz stole from people who gave him permission to go in and do repairs while they were at work. Something not suggested, but quite common.

Cops say Ortiz stole from both apartment buildings in the complex over the past year. It wasn't until four different people started complaining about missing cash and jewelry, that they linked Ortiz to the crimes.

"There was surveillance in the hallway and we noticed someone had obstructed the view with tape and just before it happened we got a sideview of the face, and it was Eddie Ortiz," said a police detective.

Police say Ortiz says he stole the money and pawned jewelry to pay for medical bills for his wife, but they don't believe that's credible.

Anyone who thinks they might be a victim to this should call police.