Jewel thief strikes open houses 

May 12, 2016

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It’s open season on Upper East Side open houses.

A dapper jewel thief has hit three luxury residences up for sale in the posh neighborhood – taking a total of about $40,000 worth of bling during showings of the residences in what police believe to be a pattern, law enforcement sources told The Post.

The crook swiped $10,000 worth of cufflinks from a sixth-floor co-op going for nearly $4 million inside of an 11-story pre-war building on Lexington Avenue between 67th and 68th streets on April 19, sources said.

The grand four-bedroom unit complete with 9.5-foot-high ceilings, which has been on the market for 22 days, was shown to potential buyers April 19th and the cufflinks were discovered missing the same day.

Two days later jewelry worth a little less than $7,000 was swiped during an open house at a co-op on East 96th Street.

Three days later and about two blocks over, a watch, ring, and bracelets totaling $23,000 were taken during the showing of an East 94th Street 19th century townhouse on the market for nearly $7 million.

Area real estate brokers are desperate for police to catch the bandit and are even internally circulating photos of a well-dressed man they believe to be the suspect.

“It’s a very scary situation,” said top broker Michele Kleier, who stars in HGTV’s Selling New York with her daughters Samantha and Sabrina. “People are afraid.”

Kleier, who has two new Upper East Side listings at 188 East 78th St and another at 1160 Park Avenue, said that she has been bringing her assistant Michael Elian with her to every open house to screen potential buyers at the door.

“He stands there at the door with a photo of the guy [the alleged robber] and believe me no one gets passed him,” she said.

Kleier added that “everyone is being cautious now…if you think about it, an open house is a perfect place for a robbery. I never let any one walk around by themselves.”

Another real estate broker with knowledge of the thefts said, “I’m surprised this type of thing doesn’t happen more often.”

Industry sources said that the alleged crook once described himself as an agent for real estate agency Stribling and Associates when he went to one of the for-sale homes.

Another time, he showed up saying he was a lawyer and that he lived at 995 Fifth Avenue, industry sources said.

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Hot Property Book

The stars of HGTV's “Selling New York” let fans step inside the high-profile world of Manhattan real estate in a wild and one-of-a-kind novel of stormy egos, sumptuous homes, and staggering fame and fortune. Written by Michele, Samantha & Sabrina Kleier.