Florida man, 81, dubbed 'Holiday Bandit' arrested after burglarizing posh NYC apartments

The octogenerian from Florida drove up to Manhattan and targeted apartments in doorman buildings of residents away on vacation, police say

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By Ben Kesslen

As New Yorkers went down to Florida for vacation, he left the sunshine state and allegedly headed straight for their homes.

Samuel Sabatino, 81, was arrested over the weekend for what police suspect was a decade-long burglary spree of luxury Manhattan apartments, according to NBC New York.

Sabatino, of Florida, was dubbed the “Holiday Bandit” for his alleged scheme that involved driving up to New York from Miami during holiday seasons, staking out buildings, sneaking past doormen, picking the locks of apartments and then plundering homes on the Upper East and Upper West Sides while residents were out of town.

Sabatino stole up to $100,000 of goods this year alone, Assistant District Attorney Rachel Polisner said at Sunday's arraignment, and authorities believe he has stolen around $400,000 worth of items since 2014. Police are connecting Sabatino to two burglaries in the last month, and at least five in the last few years, saying he often stole rings, watches, and jewels, Polisner said.

On his way up to Manhattan, Sabatino would pay for hotels and tolls in all cash, trying not to leave a trail, police say. But authorities finally nabbed him after a doorman at a 93rd street building turned him away this weekend when he tried to sneak in, and reported him to the police.

Authorities had apparently been trying to catch Sabatino for years. Polisner said he has a long criminal record that includes skipping bail in 2001 and disappearing. Since then, Sabatino had been living under the alias “James Clement,” according to police.

Now, Sabatino is facing multiple charges of burglary and grand larceny, and search warrants are being executed for his home, hotel room, and car. His attorney declined to comment to NBC New York.