Con man who stole jewelry from older women on streets of Ridgewood linked to citywide theft pattern

Police are looking for the thief who sweet-talked women into handing over their jewelry in the Ridgewood area three times since May.

Cops say that the suspect — identified on July 26 as Ezequiel Ortiz, 34 — is sought for a citywide jewelry theft pattern that includes five other incidents in Manhattan and the Bronx.

According to law enforcement sources, Ortiz struck first in Ridgewood at 3:33 p.m. on May 4, when he approached a 76-year-old woman walking along Myrtle Avenue near Putnam Avenue.

Authorities said Ortiz allegedly offered to clean the woman’s ring. The victim then handed over her wedding band, valued at $600, and Ortiz fled the scene on foot.

The second Ridgewood area theft took place at 3 p.m. on July 7 inside the Dollar Tree store at 300 Wyckoff Ave. on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border.

Police said Ortiz allegedly approached a 75-year-old woman and offered to clean her necklace. As the woman removed the chain from her neck, Ortiz allegedly snatched it from her hands and ran out of the store.

The next day, at 1:30 p.m. on July 8, Ortiz allegedly stole another necklace from a 66-year-old woman in front of a store on Myrtle Avenue between 60th Lane and 60th Street.

According to law enforcement sources, the perpetrator approached the victim and told her that her necklace had been damaged. After he offered to repair it, the woman took the chain off her neck and put it in her purse.

The persistent thief continued speaking with the victim and finally convinced her to hand over her necklace so he could make the repair. She then handed the necklace to Ortiz, who ran away in an unknown direction.

Security camera footage that the NYPD released on July 26 shows Ortiz talking with one of his victims on Myrtle Avenue.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA), visit the Crime Stoppers website or send a direct message on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

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