News & Politics

Man Sentenced to Six Years for Stealing Landmark Brooklyn Home

(Image via Google Maps)

It takes either of lot of spunk or stupidity to forge a career as a house thief. Or both. And by “house thief,” I don’t mean a run-of-the-mill cat burglar. I mean someone who steals the whole house, picket fence and all. One Brooklyn man did just that, stealing and attempting to steal a grand total of six houses. In a bit of judicial symmetry, that house thief has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Out of the six houses that Aderibigbe Ogundiran attempted to steal, he managed to actually steal one. The success of Ogundiran’s sixth attempt is also what got him caught.

The details are provided in a story published on Patch:

It was the theft of 176 Washington Park — a landmarked mansion that rests across the street from Fort Greene Park — that first caught the attention of investigators, according to prosecutors.

The historic mansion had belonged to a deceased man, whose elderly sister still lived in the house, until March 8, 2015, when Ogundiran hired someone to pose as the dead man and transfer the deed to a corporation Ogundiran controlled, prosecutors said.

The elderly sister contacted investigators when she was issued an eviction order after the deed was filed, according to prosecutors.

After Ogundiran hit the radar of authorities, it was discovered that the 36-year-old man had attempted a similar ruse five other times. During his attempted crimes, he twice went so far as to hire another individual to pretend to be the deceased homeowner who would then file a property transfer over to Ogundiran. The other times, Ogundiran took the route of simple forgery. At one of the properties, he managed to scam another individual into renting a room from him.

He was arrested in early May, and, according to another report, “indicted on grand larceny, scheme to defraud, forgery, identity theft, and criminal impersonation charges.” His trial was set for June 7 and he pleaded guilty.

This past Wednesday, Aderibigbe Ogundiran was sentenced by King’s County Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to serve two to six years in prison.

In a statement, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez warned, “All too often we are seeing thieves targeting seemingly abandoned properties to try to cash in on Brooklyn’s soaring real estate prices.”

With property values rising around the country, Gonzalez’s warning is applicable for many. Often, it’s homeless and unemployed squatters that society worries about when it comes to abandoned houses. Ogundiran’s case reminds us that there are many ways to steal the rightful property of others.