Atlanta police are looking for a burglar posing as a flower deliveryman to gain entry to high-rise apartment buildings in Buckhead and Midtown.
One incident happened just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 16 at Cathedral Towers, a senior citizen high-rise in the 2800 block of Peachtree Road, Atlanta police spokesman James Polite told the AJC.
The man "signed in as though he was a delivery person, and then proceeded to break into apartments," Polite said.
He said the same thing has happened at several other senior citizen properties as well.
Polite said that cash and jewelry were taken in each of the burglaries.
"It's very unnerving," Cathedral Towers operations manager Kathy Gottlieb told the AJC.
Gottlieb said the man spent a little over an hour in the building. His entire route was captured on the building's security camera, she said.
The man came to the front door -- the only way into the building, Gottlieb said. The staff didn't stop him because there were two other people standing at the front desk. He had flowers, one wrapped in paper, one with holly tied near the bottom, and he knew the woman he was going to see, Gottlieb said.
The man went to the 14th floor and rang the doorbell of one of the apartments. When the woman came to the door, she asked who the flowers were from, Gottlieb said.
"He said, ‘well, read the card, I don't know,'" Gottlieb said.
Someone else was on that floor delivering Christmas cards, Gottlieb said.
The man left and headed down the stairs -- skipping the 13th floor and going to the 12th, Gottlieb said.
There, he approached a man standing at his door said said he had flowers for him, Gottlieb said. Again, when he man asked who the flowers were from, he said, "I don't know."
"He was being encountered by people on the floor," Gottlieb said.
On the 11th floor, however, the man went into an apartment, Gottlieb said. The resident, an elderly woman, was cooking in the kitchen. The man went into her bedroom and took a box that contained her mother's ring, Gottlieb said.
When she left the apartment, to go to the trash chute, the man stood in her closet. Her purse was sitting there, on top of a cat carrier, and he made off with $700, Gottlieb said.
"It's a good thing he did not walk out of the closet and come face to face with her," Gottlieb said.
The man then went to the 10th floor. All of the doors were locked there, Gottlieb said. He headed down another flight. On the 9th floor, he walked into an apartment where the resident was asleep.
"He just eased in and eased out," Gottlieb said.
The man's last stop was the 8th floor. Gottlieb said the resident was downstairs helping someone fill out some paperwork. The man went inside and wasn't in there long before the resident came back.
The man had already taken money from a drawer, but he told the person he was there to check on a water leak.
Then he left, taking the back stairs, Gottlieb said.
That resident called Gottlieb, who said that all of the maintenance staffers leave at 5. Gottlieb said she then began watching the security tape.
"I had a meeting with my residents the very next day and basically gave them hell about not locking their doors," she said. And, Gottlieb said she was going to the police and to the media with the security tape.
"I'm not going to be complacent with this," she said. "My residents were upset."
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.