FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Three residential burglaries were reported last week in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said.
The first burglary was reported at 3:14 p.m. Jan. 3 at a home in the 3000 block of Northeast 51st Street, the second burglary was reported about 2:45 p.m. Jan. 4 at a home in the 2900 block of Northeast 44th Street and the third burglary was reported at 3:35 p.m. Jan. 6 at a home in the 2500 block of Northeast 40th Street.
Detective Tracy Figone said in a news release Thursday that in each incident the burglars broke into the home by distracting the homeowner and then stealing the victim's valuables.
Figone said detectives have discovered several similarities in each burglary, which lead them to believe that the same people are responsible for the three burglaries.
In the first incident, the 84-year-old victim told police that a Hispanic man knocked on the door to her apartment, rushed inside and told her that he was a plumber and there was water leaking into the apartment below her.
The victim told police that the man ran to different rooms, pretending to check out the bathrooms.
At some point, he went into her closet and took multiple pieces of jewelry, authorities said.
Police said the man then sprayed some kind of liquid on the victim's hand and told her that it was highly acidic and would damage the ring on her finger if she didn't take it off.
"He wanted the ring -- no, he's not getting the ring," the victim told Local 10 News.
The woman told police she became suspicious and refused to comply with the thief. She said he then grabbed her left arm, so she screamed and punched him in the face.
"I just came up and whacked him," she said. "I'm screaming, 'Help! Police!' He comes by me and from behind I'm shoving him.
"I just kept pushing him and screaming, and he went out the door, and, I should have followed him but I was afraid somebody was with him."
After the thief left, the victim discovered that he had made off with $22,000 worth of her jewelry.
"Obviously, the costume jewelry didn't go anyplace," the woman said. "Everything gold is gone."
Police said $400 worth of jewelry was stolen from the second victims, who are an 86-year-old woman and her 91-year-old husband.
Police said two men posed as city workers before taking off with the victims' valuables.
About $18,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from the third victim, who is 62, authorities said.
In that case, two men and a woman visited the home for an open house. Police said the woman distracted the realtor with questions, as a man played lookout at the door. Authorities said the third culprit headed to the master bedroom to steal the jewelry.
Anyone with information about the identities of the burglars is asked to call Detective Tracy Muvdi at 954-828-5704 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.
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