Man Arrested in Hollywood Hills Burglaries Targeting Usher, Other Celebrities

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Los Angeles police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a man accused of burglarizing Hollywood Hills homes, some of which owned by celebrities, by posing as a buyer or a broker during open houses in 2017 and 2018.

The agency also announced a website where victims can claim their belongings from the more than 2,000 items LAPD said it seized from 32-year-old Benjamin Eitan Ackerman's L.A.-area home and storage unit. The items range from jewelry to artworks estimated to cost millions of dollars.

Ackerman allegedly pretended to be a buyer or a broker during open houses and tampered with surveillance video cameras, sometimes ripping them out. At other times, the surveillance footage would simply go black, police said.

His victims include Usher, Jason Derulo and Adam Lambert, according to LAPD. In one case, Ackerman targeted a family friend, police said.

LAPD said investigators have identified a total of 13 victims but believe there's more.

"When he showed up, he was dressed to the nines," LAPD Detective Jared Timmons said at a news conference on Wednesday. "He acted the part. He was slick."

Timmons said investigators suspect Ackerman worked with other people, calling the operation "sophisticated." LAPD did not announce any other arrests or leads involving the case.

Ackerman caught the attention of detectives after signing into several open houses and inquiring into rare artwork, Timmons said. He's been known to resell art, the officer added.

The 32-year-old has a criminal record and "connections" in New York, Timmons said.

Officers executed a search warrant into his home and storage unit in September 2018, according to police. Inmate county records show Ackerman was arrested on Sept. 20, 2018 and released on $1 million bail four days later.

The incidents in Hollywood Hills did not appear to be related to a series of L.A.-area burglaries that targeted Rihanna, Yasiel Puig and other celebrities, Timmons said.

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