Brookline Police are urging business owners to be on the lookout for a man posing as a customer at local businesses as part of a scheme to steal from employees.
Police were first called to Poppy’s Dressmaking back on September 21.
“They heard the front door open, when they went out front, a male was standing there and asked what it cost to have a shirt dry cleaned,” said Lieutenant Phil Harrington.
Moments after the man left, the owner realized he had taken her iPhone right off the front counter.
“The employee then returned to where they had been working, and realized their cellphone was also missing,” said Lt. Phil Harrington, a spokesperson for the department.
Police used the “Find my iPhone” app to track the phone a few blocks down from Beacon Street before it was shut off. When police began canvassing the area, they found the same man hit a nail salon on the same say.
“He asked about paying for an appointment. He was told ‘no, you have to pay at the time of service.
He then asked to use the bathroom in the back of the store and then proceeded to exit the store,” said Lt. Harrington.
Police are now working to determine if these incidents have any connection to a string of similar crimes that happened last year.
Anthony Binsfield hit five stores in Brookline and several in Boston late last year, posing as an HVAC technician to steal credit cards and personal items from employees. He was released from jail August 31 after serving eight months for larceny.
“(It’s a) very specific type of crime where they are taking advantage of these local businesses,” said Lt. Harrington. “It’s very frustrating to think these people were taken advantage of, these employees.”
As the investigation continues, police are urging local store owners to be aware and to keep customers in eyesight if possible.
“If somebody comes in and asks to use your employee bathroom, let us know or keep an eye on them. Escort them to and from the bathroom,” Lt. Harrington said. “It’s unfortunate where we’re at right now, (that) people are out there doing this.”