July 29, 2019 By Allie Griffin
The police are looking to locate a man who allegedly stole jewelry from older women in Ridgewood by offering to clean or fix their precious metals, but instead running off with the loot.
From early May through last Monday, the suspect stole jewelry from individuals throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens a total of eight times.
The suspect identified by police as 34-year-old Ezequiel Ortiz is tied to a citywide grand larceny scheme which was first reported in Ridgewood on May 4.
According to the NYPD, he approached a 76-year-old woman on Myrtle Avenue near Putnam Avenue in Ridgewood at 3:33 p.m. and offered to clean her wedding band. When the woman handed it over, Ortiz allegedly ran off with the $600 ring.
Law enforcement sources said Ortiz later struck again at a Dollar Tree on Wyckoff Avenue near the Ridgewood/ Bushwick border. They said on July 7 around 3 p.m., he again offered to clean jewelry, this time the necklace of a 75-year-old woman. When the victim removed the necklace from around her neck, the suspect snatched it from her hands and fled on foot.
The next day, July 8 at 1:30 p.m. Ortiz returned to Ridgewood to chat with a 66-year-old woman in front of a store on Myrtle Avenue between 60th Lane and 60th Street. He told the woman her necklace was damaged and offered to fix it for her, according to police. The woman took the chain off and put it in her purse until Ortiz allegedly convinced her to give it to him to repair, but he instead took it and ran westbound on Myrtle Avenue.
The suspect stole at least $3,000 worth of jewelry in total, according to police.
Ortiz can be seen speaking with one of his victims on Myrtle Avenue in security camera footage released by the NYPD on July 26.
The NYPD asks anyone with information regarding these incidents to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.