A Los Angeles man was arrested after he allegedly stole millions of dollars worth of high-priced designer goods and art from multiple Hollywood Hills homes over the past two years.
Benjamin Eitan Ackerman was taken into custody for allegedly burglarizing the homes of several stars, including Usher, Adam Lambert, Real Housewives’ Dorit Kemsley and Jason Derulo, and stealing more than 2,000 designer items from the residences of the rich and famous, Los Angeles Police Department said on Wednesday.
Police say that among those stolen items were artwork, clothing, purses, jewelry, fine wine, shoes, and electronics — all of which were allegedly discovered by the LAPD at Ackerman’s Los Angeles home and personal storage unit.
Authorities say they are still trying to find the owners of hundreds of high-priced items and have since created a website in a bid to find the rightful owners.
To burglarize the residences, police say Ackerman, 32, often targeted the “high-end celebrity homes that were for sale” and posed as an interested buyer or real estate broker during open houses.
“People didn’t challenge him when he walked into their houses. When he showed up, he was dressed to the nines. He acted the part,” LAPD Detective Jared Timmons said of how police believed Ackerman was able to allegedly gain access.
“He was very slick. He appears to be very fluent with computers and technology and knowing how to manipulate those,” Timmons added.
The suspect would also allegedly tamper with surveillance videos, occasionally ripping tapes from their recording devices or finding a way to black out the screens, police said.
While it is currently unclear how much the stolen property amounted to, police believe it was worth “multiple millions” of dollars. They were also able to confirm that 13 victims have been burglarized but felt there were more.
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Police originally began their investigation after Ackerman attended several open houses and expressed interest in rare artwork, according to Timmons.
The detective added that the suspect was allegedly known to resell the designs and had a criminal record with “connections” in New York.
After obtaining a warrant, police searched through Ackerman’s home and storage unit in September. He was arrested on Sept. 20 and released on a $1 million bail four days later, according to inmate records.
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At this time, it is unclear if Ackerman has retained legal counsel and whether he acted alone. LAPD said it is “still an ongoing investigation.”
Ackerman has yet to be formally charged.
The burglaries in the residences of the Hollywood Hills do not appear to be connected to the recent robberies at the homes of Rihanna, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, and Christina Milian, Timmons said.
Authorities are asking anyone with information on the burglaries to contact the LAPD at 877-ASK-LAPD.