Los Angeles cops busted a man who allegedly posed as a real estate broker or buyer to plunder the homes of Usher, Jason Derulo and other celebrities — snagging “multiple millions” of dollars worth of designer items.
Benjamin Ackerman, 32, was taken into custody in September in connection to the burglaries of at least 13 different homes beginning in 2017, authorities said on Wednesday.
Dorit Kemsley from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and actress Rebecca Hutton were also targeted in Ackerman’s spree, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Derulo’s home was hit especially hard back in September 2017, when jewelry and $300,000 cash was taken, the station reported at the time.
“Ackerman targeted high-end celebrity homes that were for sale, or were being shown during open house appointments,” LAPD Capt. Cory Palka told the outlet.
He often posed as a realtor or home buyer interested in the properties, authorities said.
“People didn’t challenge him when he walked into their houses. When he showed up, he was dressed to the nines. He acted the part,” LAPD Detective Jared Timmons said, according to a People report. “He appears to be very fluent with computers and technology and knowing how to manipulate those.”
In September 2018, detectives served a search warrant at Ackerman’s home and storage unit— recovering more than 2,000 items — including bags and wallets, jewelry, artwork, clothing, electronics, fine wine and sports memorabilia.
The LAPD posted photos of the recovered items online — in hopes that someone would come forward to claim them.
“We have diamond necklaces, we have to see what type of diamonds they are, whose they are and what the actual values are,” LAPD Det. Jared Timmons told the local station. “As you can see, we have high-end artwork, again those need to be appraised, see if they’ve been damaged by the suspect.”
Ackerman was “very sophisticated” — even tampering some surveillance videos — and detectives are looking to determine whether he had any accomplices, Timmons said.
Detectives would like to speak to anyone who has purchased items from Ackerman or done business with him — both in the Southern California area and elsewhere in the U.S., police said.
Ackerman was allegedly known to resell rare artwork and had a criminal record with “connections” in New York, Timmons added, according to People.
He was released on $1 million bail four days after his arrest, the outlet reported.
He’s yet to be formally charged.