PROVO — Police from multiple cities in Utah County are looking for a man whom they describe as a “serial thief" who casually strolls through offices in search of wallets, purses and other valuables.
The man has struck at least six times in the past month in Provo, Orem and Lindon. He appears to prefer doctor’s offices and law offices, Provo police detective Chris Chambers said.
Surveillance video obtained from the latest known theft at Provo Pediatric Dental, 745 N. 500 West, on Nov. 6 showed the man walking in through different entrances, casually peering inside rooms and then turning away and pretending to talk on a cellphone at the first sign of people. Chambers said he escaped with a wallet in that heist.
Chambers was concerned Monday about the potential for an encounter to go bad if the man runs into somebody he wasn’t expecting to see.
“We don’t know his history, we don’t know what tendencies he might have,” Chambers said. “So we want to put a stop to him before it gets to that point.”
Chambers said the same man was caught on surveillance video during a theft in 2010, and it’s unclear whether he has been active or what he has been doing from that time until this latest spree.
Hannah Godwin said her wallet was stolen from the purse in her desk during an Oct. 26 theft at the law office where she works near 900 S. State in Orem. She said she had walked away from her front desk position on the second floor of the building for just five minutes.
Her boss was just around the corner and nothing seemed out of place when she returned, Godwin said.
However, 30 minutes later she received a call from her bank. The man, Godwin said, had already tried to withdraw money out of an ATM on two separate occasions using one of her cards and also purchased gas at a nearby station.
Godwin said she didn’t initially believe that her wallet had been taken from her desk. She checked elsewhere in the office building and in her car.
Surveillance video obtained from the ATM and gas station ultimately showed the same man suspected in other recent thefts was also responsible for the disappearance of Godwin’s wallet, police said.
“It definitely wasn’t what I expected,” Godwin said. “It was very violating to see who it ended up being.”
Godwin said she has since had to change all of her card numbers and has signed up for a credit alert service.
Chambers said it appears the man was driving a late ′80s or early ′90s blue two-door Buick Skylark or Regal. The vehicle had a white bumper and front end damage on the driver’s side.
Anybody who may have information is asked to call Provo police or Chambers directly at 801-852-7306.