Cubicle Con swiping electronics from offices across the Bay Area 

click to enlarge Footage shows the suspect taking things when workers step away. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Footage shows the suspect taking things when workers step away.

Bay Area detectives say they are hot on the tail of the “Cubicle Con.”

A “smooth-talking” thief has reportedly been posing as a customer at various businesses across the region and distracting employees in order to swipe cellphones and tablets off desks.

The thefts have been going on for weeks, but their extent wasn’t realized until the South San Francisco Police Department reported to the media about five incidents there and three in Burlingame. Detective Mike Garcia said the news reports led to “a lot of calls” from other Bay Area law enforcement agencies — including in San Francisco, Petaluma, Pleasanton and Los Altos — regarding similar thefts.

Daly City police also are looking into two cases that might be related, Sgt. Michael Barton said Wednesday.

The “Cubicle Con” was nearly caught Tuesday after employees of a San Mateo business recognized his method of operation from media reports, said Garcia, who is leading the investigation.

“We just missed him,” Garcia said. “It’s only a matter of time now.”

The chatty thief has left behind a trail of victims, some of whom reportedly spent as long as an hour of their workday listening to the man’s tall stories.

The suspect reportedly hits businesses such as dental offices, auto dealerships and home improvement stores. He has hit two South City dental offices, and in at least one of the incidents he claimed he wanted to get braces for his kids and went on about his insurance, according to Garcia.

“He will actually ask for a tour and get a tour of their facility,” Garcia said.

At the San Francisco Design Center on Kansas Street, the thief reportedly claimed he wanted to upgrade a home he had just inherited. In Daly City, according to police there, he went so low as to rob an employee of an assisted living facility.

“He goes in, engages in long conversations and tries to gain their trust,” Garcia said. “He’s a real smooth talker, and apparently looks very clean cut.”

The “Cubicle Con” was described as a white man in his mid- to late 30s, 6-foot-2 to 6-4 and with shaggy brown hair.

But he has since shaved his head, police said, and “appears to like wearing a T-shirt with a prominent LRG brand logo on the front.”

A getaway driver might also be involved, Garcia said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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