A Rockland County landlord is under arrest and facing burglary charges after police say he stole things from his tenant’s apartment.
The suspect’s mugshot shows bruises on his face, because of what happened when authorities say the tenant returned home.
It all unfolded in New Hempstead. The tenant — who only wants to use her first name, Denise — says she first noticed items missing last week.
“He took like 40 pairs of shoes, $250, winter clothes,” she said. “He took a lot of stuff the first time.”
Back then, the apartment was neat and clean, with clothes in the closet, a computer in the corner and a small but tidy kitchen. Now, it is in total disarray after the series of break-ins allegedly committed by landlord John Casablanca.
Ramapo police say he was caught blue handed Tuesday night, when Denise returned home and found the 55-year-old inside, wearing blue plastic gloves to avoid leaving finger prints and holding a bag of her stuff.
“I see my lights on and I hear the noise, and he’s trying to get out,” she said. “He didn’t get out quick enough. So I caught him, and he tried to push me. But then John came, and we tackled him, sat on him, he sat on him, and I called the cops.”
John is Denise’s boyfriend, who subdued Casablanca until police arrived. The two men work together, which is how Denise, 45, ended up renting the apartment three months ago.
She is recovering from ovarian cancer, and her wig was one of the items that was stolen from her.
“I’m not here to gauge his mental health, because I’m not qualified to diagnose,” she said. “However, it’s a mental health issue. I’m positive. There’s nothing normal about that.”
Denise speculates that he was trying to harass her and force her out because of a better offer from another perspective tenant.
Casablanca has been charged with burglary, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. He is being held at the Rockland County Jail.