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Police Hunt for 'Vaseline' Burglar After Uptown Spree

By Carla Zanoni | March 19, 2012 6:48pm | Updated on March 19, 2012 9:14pm
This is the man wanted for a string of burglaries in Inwood and Washington Heights beginning in September 2011.
This is the man wanted for a string of burglaries in Inwood and Washington Heights beginning in September 2011.
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UPPER MANHATTAN  — Police are on the hunt for a burglar, who leaves a smear of Vaseline on apartment door peepholes to avoid being seen by neighbors while ransacking apartments for laptops, jewelry and electronics.

The suspect left his sticky calling card each time after hitting more than a dozen uptown apartments since the end of last year, the New York Times reported. 

Police believe the suspect smears the substance on apartment peephole’s before breaking into his targeted home in order to make it difficult for neighbors to see him in the hallway. 

In each case, every apartment but the robbed home had its peephole coated with the gunky stuff.  

The NYPD is currently testing samples for possible DNA matches and leads on the suspect. 

The police are also testing a bottle of Courvoisier that the suspect may have drank from while at the scene of a crime in a Hudson Heights apartment, according to the Times

Police sources said the bizarre burglary pattern started late last year with incidents reported at apartments close to Dyckman Street in Inwood and along Cabrini Boulevard in Washington Heights. 

In each case, the burglar made off with personal items including family jewelry and electronics, after forcing his way into the apartments with a crowbar, police said.

Although the brazen thefts seemed to cease at the end of the year, a handful of apartments were once again targeted by the slick thief last month. 

Police called the strategy unusual and said they believe the same suspect is responsible for the burglaries. 

"This is a very unusual M.O.," Deputy Inspector Barry Buzzetti said of the burglar’s method, adding that the police have ramped up patrols of the area and are working to find the slippery thief.  

Buzzetti urged residents to be aware of people entering or leaving their apartment buildings and warned that potential burglars are sometimes hard to identify. 

"They could be me or you, they look like normal people," he said. "They’re not walking into a building with a Christmas sack. They walk in with a shopping cart or nothing and then they're going to fill up."