Series of burglaries at high-rise

July 25, 2008 3:12:49 PM PDT
A luxury apartment building in Manhattan is taking serious steps to catch whoever is behind a series of burglaries. There have been at least 18 apartments burglarized in the doorman building.The sign in the lobby of 247 East 28th Street reads all visitors must be announced. But the one visitor no one wants to see is the one who has come unannounced 18 times over the last 10 months, breaking in to apartments. Some of the burglaries have happened in broad daylight.

"Seventeen floors, about six apartments on each floor," resident Jeff Bienstock said. "Eighteen is just an unbelievable amount of apartments to hit in such a short time frame"

Bienstock and others who live in the building are obviously worried that they could be next. With no fingerprints found and no sign of forced entry, it looks to most like an inside job.

Even the city's top cop has taken notice.

"There is a person of interest," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "We are doing an investigation. Someone with access, with keys, is involved. We are talking to individuals that we have an interest in."

"The doormen are good, honest people," resident Mike Beckerman said. "They're not just letting anybody upstairs. I've always felt safe having these guys downstairs."

Beckerman has an idea of who's responsible, and others agree. But because there is no proof so far, they didn't want to say. But they still might take action.

"There is already some tenants that are lobbying to hold in escrow the entire building's rents until it stops," he said.

So far, there is no sign of that. Two more apartments were hit this week.

Building management says they are installing cameras on every floor and in the elevators. But many say that should have happened after the third or fourth break in, not the 18th.

"I don't know that the safety measures that they are claiming they are enacting are really doing much good," Bienstock said.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Phil Lipof