A man accused of posing as a realtor in order to steal millions of dollars worth of goods from celebrity homes in Los Angeles has been arrested, police announced on Wednesday. Benjamin Eitan Ackerman allegedly robbed several homes in the Hollywood Hills belonging to celebrities like Usher, Adam Lambert, and Real Housewives star Dorit Kemsley over a series of months starting in 2017, E! reveals.
According to police, 32-year-old Ackerman would find homes for sale and pose as an interested buyer or realtor. He would show up well-dressed and act the part, all while examining the home with the goal of nabbing high-end products later.
“Ackerman targeted high-end celebrity homes that were for sale, or were being shown during open house appointments,” Los Angeles Police Department Captain Cory Palka said in a news conference on Wednesday.
The LAPD released images of the stolen goods, including thousands of pieces of art, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and electronics, along with other miscellaneous items like alcohol and sports cards, which recovered in a local storage unit and at Ackerman’s home. Police estimate that the recovered goods value likely reaches into the millions of dollars. It’s also likely that many other items have already been sold off.
Police say that Ackerman knew his way around technology in order to get away with his heists. Sometimes cameras were removed, but it appears that at other times footage went out during the time of the robberies.
“His work was very sophisticated and in a lot of these cases, we saw tampered surveillance videos,” LAPD Detective Jared Timmons said.
“[Ackerman] seems to be fluent with computers and technology.”
The #LAPD has arrested a suspect in a series of celebrity/high-end home burglaries. The Department recovered more than 2,000 items stolen from these homes.— LA Police Foundation (@LAPoliceFdtn) January 2, 2019
If you were a victim and want to see if your property was recovered, click the... https://t.co/m53N3oKULj
So far, police know about 13 victims of Ackerman’s victims, including Adam Lambert, Jason Derulo, Usher, Rebecca Hutton, and Dorit Kemsley, but there could be more who police aren’t aware of.
“As we said, open houses were the main source, however, we do have one case where he targeted a family friend,” Timmons said. “So nobody’s off the table,” he added
Usher’s home was famously robbed in April 2018, when thieves made off with cash and jewelry valued at over $800,000 from his Sunset Strip-adjacent residence. Derulo was robbed in September 2017, losing $300,00 in cash and jewelry.
Officers believe Ackerman was working with accomplices, and they are currently working to identify them if they exist. The LAPD says they haven’t filed charges against the suspected burglar but expect to once items have been recovered and the investigation concludes.
Ackerman was arrested in September and released on a $1 million bond.