"Senior Citizen Burglar" Sought in Coral Gables

Older man suspected in series of apartment burglaries, caught on video

By Gilma Avalos
|  Wednesday, May 1, 2013  |  Updated 10:02 AM EDT
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What looks like a nondescript senior citizen holding a cane at a Coral Gables front entrance would probably not raise any red flags. But an older man caught on surveillance video by a camera at the Villa Isabella apartments on Madeira Street could be behind a number of burglaries in the Gables. Andrea Bonggi and Patty Valdez comment.

What looks like a nondescript senior citizen holding a cane at a Coral Gables front entrance would probably not raise any red flags. But an older man caught on surveillance video by a camera at the Villa Isabella apartments on Madeira Street could be behind a number of burglaries in the Gables. Andrea Bonggi and Patty Valdez comment.

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What looks like a nondescript senior citizen holding a cane at a Coral Gables front entrance would probably not raise any red flags.

But an older man caught on surveillance video by a camera at the Villa Isabella apartments on Madeira Street could be behind a number of burglaries in the Gables.

In February, Andrea Bonggi came home from work to find her door frame had been pried open. The visit from an uninvited guest would cost her $10,000.

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"Jewelry, Rolex, (carry-on) baggage, with new clothes," said Bonggi of the items taken.

She says the burglar used a crowbar to try to get into another 5th floor apartment too. But that apartment was vacant.

The man apparently walked right in. He somehow knew the security code, Bonggi said.

"You can see him putting in the code and then you can see him come in with a suitcase," described Bonggi who got to see the surveillance video.

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Coral Gables Police believe it's not this man's first time around the block. They believe he may have targeted other apartments in the area, an area residents say is safe.

"I walk around here all the time and I've never had a problem so I feel very safe here," said Patty Valdez.

Police think the burglar could be in his 60's. Most wouldn't hesitate to get the door for a senior citizen, welcoming him right in.

"It's really scary. I'd hate to come back from my travels and there's someone roaming the building trying to see what they get," said tenant Leon.

Bonggi says the burglar stole her peace of mind. She no longer comes home late, and makes sure to check in with strangers often. She even bought a door brace to prevent other uninvited guests.

"I feel afraid," she said.

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