Bay Area detectives are asking office workers to be wary of a smooth-talking thief who gains the trust of office workers in one instant and then makes off with their electronics in his pants the next.
The San Francisco Examiner has dubbed this man the “cubicle con,” and he has been swiping cell phones and tablets off the desks of auto dealerships and dental offices at least since the end of February.
A still image from security video shows the alleged suspect jamming a pink tablet down his pants.
The South San Francisco Police Department was able to link the rash of thefts after other law enforcement agencies from cities including San Francisco, Pleasanton and Petaluma began reporting of similar crimes.
The man’s modus operandi involves posing as a chatty and interested customer in order to lower the victim’s guard and gain trust. He will often regale employee’s with “tall stories” and ask to have a tour of the facilities.
Detective Mike Garcia of the South San Francisco Police Department told the SF Examiner:
“He goes in, engages in long conversations and tries to gain their trust. He’s a real smooth talker, and apparently looks very clean-cut.”
Garcia, who is leading the investigation, said the con man was almost caught by two employees at a San Mateo business after they recognized his trust-seeking behavior.
The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s, 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-4 with shaggy brown hair. Police say he has since shaved his head and that a getaway driver may also be involved.