EXCLUSIVE: Middle class super thief who posed as realtor to mastermind ... trends now
A Log Angeles thief has been sentenced to 31 years behind bars for masterminding burglaries of the rich and famous by posing as a real estate agent.
Benjamin Eitan Ackerman, 37, appeared downcast as he was sentenced Wednesday for his role in stealing millions of dollars' worth of jewelry, designer purses, shoes and artwork from celebrity victims including Usher and Adam Lampert.
Ackerman was initially arrested in January 2019 in a plot with alleged co-conspirator Jason Yaselli, who officials say worked in tandem to target mansions across Hollywood.
Throughout a near-two-year spree from December 2016 to July 2018, at least $5.5 million was taken from homes - with one Beverly Hills home losing 150 luxury items totaling $2.5 million in a single raid.
Benjamin Ackerman, 37, looked downcast as he was sentenced on Wednesday to 31 years in prison for a spree of high-profile burglaries
The thief posed as a real estate agent to scope out and gain access to mansions owned by the rich and famous
Victim Punch Hutton (pictured), the former editor of Vanity Fair, broke down as she read an impact statement at Ackerman's sentencing hearing
Ackerman looked to the floor as he walked into the courthouse in prison uniform and handcuffs, before victims including the tearful former Vanity Fair editor Punch Hutton read out victim impact statements.
Ackerman was found guilty last month at Los Angeles Superior Court for the robberies, and previously pleaded no contest to some charges against him including stealing from the home of Real Housewives star Dorit Kemsley.
He also pleaded not guilty to three other counts, including a 2017 break-in at former NFL player Shaun Phillips' home.
After his arrest in January 2019, investigators seized over 2,000 stolen items stashed in his home and a storage unit.
He allegedly teamed up with Yaselli, who was also arrested but the status of his criminal case is unclear, to trick their way into lavish mansions and scope them out.
Prosecutors say Yaselli encouraged 'slick' Ackerman to target a total of 14 mansions, before selling the stolen items and using the profits to pay off Yaselli's credit card.
Each month, Ackerman deposited between $5,500 and $20,000 into Yaselli's account, prosecutors said.
Their alleged scheme saw Ackerman pose as a realtor to gain a closer look at the homes, which LAPD detective Jared Timmons described as him 'dressed to the nines.'
'He acted the part - he was very slick,' Timmons added.
Usher (pictured) and his ex-wife Grace Miguel found themselves victims of the burglary ring after putting their house up for sale
Usher and his then wife Grace Migel found themselves targeted by the due in 2018, after they put up their $4.2million property near to the luxury Chateau Marmont on Hollywood's Sunset Strip. The listing emphasized the 'striking artwork' and 'eye-catching décor,' and also had several pictures of the inside of the property with plenty of belongings on show
Detectives discovered more than 2,500 stolen items in Ackerman's home and a storage unit he owned. Messages from Ackerman showed him discussing stealing from celebrities Usher and Adam Lambert
Ackerman targeted Adam Lambert's luxury three-bedroom, 3,049-square-foot home nestled above the Sunset Strip after it was put on the market for $3.35 million. He saw the property on an online listing, and went back on more than one occasion to pocket luxury goods
Lambert had a signed picture from Freddie Mercury which was inscribed to him stolen from his home
Punch Hutton, the former deputy editor of Vanity Fair who was pictured bursting into tears as she spoke at Ackerman's sentencing Wednesday, had her home targeted in December 2017.
Hutton and her film producer husband John Hodges became victims after leaving their home for an open house event in a lavish neighborhood also home to Usher and Lampert.
An online listing included dozens of photos and a 3D tour of their home which showed off their personal possessions.
Ackerman and Yaselli would both allegedly trawl through online home sale listings for their next victims.
The enticing listing drew the attention of Ackerman, who jumped over their backyard fence and hoisted himself onto the roof and snuck into the master bedroom - which he had unlocked earlier during the open house.
After successfully stealing a Louis Vuitton tote and a blue Goyard tote, along with a jewelry box, he took a picture and sent it to Yaselli saying: 'Well just when you thought the day was done ;)'
Also among the stolen items were jewelry, handbags and Hodges' Rolexes, with the couple losing in total of around $215,000 of valuables.
Hutton's case was