Editors’ note: In July we posted a blog about the growing number of older nomad workers who use their vehicles to find ways to survive in these grim times (https://hardcrackers.com/growing-old-post-recession-america/). We’re now re-posting an article from CNN on a somewhat more unusual approach to solving the problem of too little money when you’re old. We have no position as to which approach is more effective.
(CNN) Samuel Sabatino, 82, spent his holiday weekends driving from Florida to Manhattan — and possibly other states. But when he got there, instead of relaxing and sightseeing, he slipped past doormen in upscale buildings and went on burglary sprees in vacant apartments, prosecutors said.
He’s committed at least 10 burglaries that resulted in $400,000 worth of items over five years just in New York City alone, according to authorities.
Just this year alone, he is believed to have stolen $100,000 worth of goods across three apartments, prosecutors said. He was arrested in New York City last weekend and faces charges of burglary, attempted burglary and grand larceny.
“We are continuing to gather additional evidence and assess incidents occurring prior to this year and expect to bring additional felony charges,” his bail application said.
When reached by phone Friday, his attorney said she was unavailable for comment.
Investigators dubbed the culprit the Holiday Burglar because of a repeated pattern of burglaries on holidays, specifically Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.
In a series of documents, authorities described how the suspect operated.
He would enter upscale apartment buildings on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan carrying a black bag, prosecutors said. He would go to a top or near top floor of the building, looking for an apartment with signs that the residents were gone, like newspapers and packages left outside.
He would then enter and steal tens of thousands of dollars in items such as watches, wedding rings, and diamond and gold jewelry.
On August 31, a New York County building employee stopped him as he tried to enter a building carrying a black bag, authorities said. He said he was there to visit his cousin Suarez, and he may be in the wrong building — but the employee told him no one by that name lives there. He left that building with an empty black bag and was arrested shortly after, police said.
“The only reason he was finally caught was by way of an extensive and high-tech investigation where we ultimately tracked the defendant’s vehicle from Florida to NYC area — and through stellar police work and assistance from out of state jurisdictions on this investigation,” his bail application said.
His bail was set at $250,000 cash or a $500,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.