Police are looking for a man who reportedly took $4400 from a prospective renter of a Lower East Side walkup apartment. Investigators say the suspect is not the owner of the building and was not authorized to lease apartments in the building, located between East Houston and Stanton streets.
The victim, a 36-year-old man, spotted the listing on Craigslist, and met the suspect August 16 for an on-site tour. He handed over the money and then, on move-in day, discovered that the unit was already occupied.
Back in March, there was a similar scam reported in the East Village. Last week, the apparent victim in the Ludlow Street incident left a comment on EV Grieve, saying he believes the same people are involved. Here’s what he wrote:
…I went to move in yesterday and found two other individuals already living in the studio who said they had rented it from the same guy. He took two payments from me of $2,200. He also showed the studio to the couple that are currently staying there. This man works with a woman and also took two payments of $2,200. I went online and googled East Village Craigslist rental scams and the picture of this man came up and recognized him immediately as this is who I met that subleased this studio to me and the other renters. I went to the Police yesterday [Sept. 5] and told them the story and have a meeting with a detective tomorrow. The other renter is coming with me and said she went to the police today and was told that this man was arrested a few months ago and got out and is now doing the same scam again using a different alias. The police officer also mentioned that this was a big case and there are some 36 accounts against this man.
In March, police said the suspect went by the names David Horowitz and Michael Bryant. There’s some poor quality video of the man police believe was behind the Ludlow Street incident. Channel 2 used it in a story broadcast over the weekend.
If you have any information for police, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.