HELL'S KITCHEN — A criminal dressed as a construction worker to break into multiple work sites around Midtown and Hell's Kitchen, making off with power tools and other unattended valuables, police said.
Robert P. Woods, 53, allegedly donned a vest, tool belt and hard hat and used his disguise to blend in while breaking into the sites to take whatever was valuable. The incidents took place on at least three dates in March, police said.
"He looked legitimate," said Inspector Timothy Beaudette, the Midtown North Precinct's commanding officer, at a community council meeting on Tuesday.
"He'd basically just pry open the shanties and the sheds they have and steal all the power tools."
Cops managed to track down one of the stolen computers to an address in the Bronx, where they found Woods, the stolen goods, and pieces of his disguise. He was arrested there on April 4 and charged with burglary.
Midtown North cops managed to use video surveillance to tie woods to three burglaries in March — at 555 W. 57th St., the home of a BMW dealership, at West 58th Street and 12th Avenue, and at the Sony Building at 550 Madison Ave.
Woods has a long criminal history, with 36 prior arrests, including 12 prior felony arrests and numerous drug-related offenses, according to NYPD records. He was last arrested in January for aggravated harassment, according to cops.
Beaudette said nine construction sites have been robbed in the precinct so far in 2013, compared to none last year. He added that it was likely that Woods stole from a fourth site, but investigators were unable to find video of the alleged crime.
Investigators are now trying to find out if Woods played his dress-up scheme on other sites around the city. Cops in the nearby 10th Precinct were able to tie him to a robbery there the day after he was arrested.