Boynton Beach police hope to return 100+ pieces of stolen property to senior citizens
Detectives: targeting elderly is 'deplorable'
7:46 PM, Nov 27, 2013
11:49 PM, Nov 27, 2013
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Estelle Bendersky lives at Newport Place apartments in Boynton Beach with her husband Joe. When the couple came home from dinner last Wednesday night, she noticed some earrings were out of place on her dresser.
"I noticed some things were missing, I took another look and lots of things were missing," said Bendersky.
Boynton Beach police say Estelle and dozens of her neighbors had been burglarized by 20 year old Darius Harris. Harris was a server in the facility's dining room downstairs. '
"It's devastating and sad because he was a dining room employee and we got to know him," said Bendersky.
Detectives say residents usually leave their keys with their walkers when they go to dinner. They say Harris would grab the keys off those walkers to get into the room.
Police suspect Harris was targeting residents since January. But it wasn't until recently when he found a buyer, police say he was stealing more often.
"It was under the table, he was getting paid cash there was no paperwork. At that point in September, we saw a huge upswing in burglaries," said Detective Brian McDeavitt.
Detectives say Harris stole jewelry, keys, anything he thought was valuable and pawned it for thousands of dollars. Most of what he stole is gone. Estelle will get her things back.
"That week he had done one Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and was scheduled to work Thursday, I think he would've kept going as much as he could," said Detective McDeavitt.
"I was lucky that he didn't have time to get rid of my jewelry and pawn it. "I never thought I'd be a victim, it's the first time in my life," said Bendersky.
At 87 years old, Estelle hopes it's the last time.