Alleged Cubicle Con pleads not guilty to 13 burglary charges, might face more counts 

click to enlarge Law enforcement officials say Nicholas Anthony Simat of Pleasanton is the man who stole cellphones, tablets and other items from Peninsula businesses. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Law enforcement officials say Nicholas Anthony Simat of Pleasanton is the man who stole cellphones, tablets and other items from Peninsula businesses.

The suspected “Cubicle Con” was charged Monday with robbing more than a dozen San Mateo County businesses, and prosecutors said he might face additional charges for alleged heists in other counties.

Nicholas Anthony Simat, 26, of Pleasanton pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of commercial burglary in connection with eight robberies in South San Francisco, three in Burlingame and two in Daly City, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Simat remains in custody on $100,000 bail.

Police also have connected Simat to similar robberies in San Francisco, Petaluma and Los Altos. And on Monday morning, Wagstaffe said, prosecutors received a call from the Palo Alto Police Department regarding another possibly related incident.

Simat’s method of operation was consistent in all of the San Mateo County heists, Wagstaffe said. He would reportedly pretend to be a customer at various businesses and wait until employees became distracted before snatching cellphones, mobile tablets and other items off desks.

Targets included dental offices, motorcycle dealerships, and auto repair and home improvement businesses, Wagstaffe said. In some cases, Simat allegedly distracted employees by asking for water. When asked his name, he would call himself Mike or Michael but offer no last name, prosecutors said.

Security video from multiple robberies caught Simat in the act, Wagstaffe said.

He was arrested Thursday and reportedly admitted to the thefts, saying he stole the items to fuel his addictions to heroin and oxycodone.

A merchant in San Francisco’s Design district reportedly supplied police with information that helped nab the suspected Cubicle Con, including a vehicle license plate number.

Police have described Simat as a “smooth talker” who would spend as long as an hour chatting up his victims.

He reportedly told the employees of several businesses that he wanted to remodel a home that his deceased grandmother had left him. At South City dental offices, according to police, he would say his daughter needed braces and would go on tours of the facilities.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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Saturday, Jan 24, 2015

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