By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The 13th Precinct has seen a spike in the theft of unattended property recently, in part thanks to criminally rude dates.
The precinct’s commanding officer Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said that bar-hoppers have getting stolen from after inviting strangers up to their apartments and waking up the next morning to discover that items had been stolen.
Timoney discussed the crimes at the most recent community council meeting at the end of last month.
The deputy inspector also pointed to thefts by hired help as one of the culprits for the increase. The NYPD has previously said that 50 complaints have been made of residential thefts in the city, allegedly committed by apartment cleaners hired through the app Handy, and Timoney reiterated that residents should be wary services that give employees access to residents’ apartments.
Timoney noted that there has also been a slight uptick in phone snatchings, which he attributed to pedestrians not being aware of their surroundings.
“We’ve had some phone snatchings from people who were out later at night, walking home from clubs,” he said.
However, Timoney noted that despite the increase, grand larcenies, as well as crime overall, have decreased in the last few weeks.
The deputy inspector also reminded residents at the meeting that identity theft is up due to tax season. Scammers posing as IRS employees frequently call New Yorkers and threaten them with jail time but Timoney noted that the IRS doesn’t demand payment by phone.
There has been a 53 percent decrease in burglaries for the precinct so far this year, and Timoney noted that two suspects were nabbed in the precinct recently for burglaries in the neighborhood and elsewhere in the city. One was 36-year-old Abraham Diaz, who was arrested after he was spotted via surveillance video allegedly stealing a MacBook from the offices of Virtual Health Partners at 234 Fifth Avenue on February 10.
Police believe that Diaz was responsible for 14 burglaries in Flatiron, Midtown, SoHo and the Garment District in 2015. The arrest last month happened while he was out on bail as he faces trial for those previous break-ins, and Timoney said that police suspect him of a number of other burglaries he hasn’t been charged with yet.