BAY HARBOR ISLANDS, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of an elderly man who recently died said crooks broke into his longtime Bay Harbor Islands home and stole several heirlooms and antiques.
Ben Alter lived to be 106 years old before he died earlier in May in the 98th Street home where he raised his family. He lived there for 66 years, and the family said he had never dealt with crime at the home.
“If I hear anything that’s good for you, I’ll ring the bell in a hurry,” Alter said in a home video.
Carolyn Horowitz is his daughter. She and the rest of Alter’s surviving family were grieving their loved one when burglars broke into Alter’s home, ransacked it and stole several heirlooms, antiques and other items.
“We called him ‘The Energizer,’” she said. “We never thought he would go. I was brought up in this house.”
The burglary happened eight days after the 106-year-old died, according to the family.
“This is what you call ransacked,” Horowitz said. “They ripped the drawers out. They threw everything all over. Kept going and going until they broke the deadbolt. It was horrible. It was just horrible. I literally couldn’t believe it.”
Bay Harbor Islands Police were at the home for several hours after the family discovered the break-in and theft.
Among the items stolen were a silver set worth thousands of dollars and the living room TV.
Jeffrey Horowitz said his grandfather’s neighbors said they saw a commercial moving truck parked on the home’s front lawn.
“They saw a U-Haul at 11 a.m. in the driveway just moving stuff out, broad daylight, Monday morning, 11 a.m.,” he said. “We all feel really violated.”
“To do something like this when a family is grieving, you can’t get any lower than that,” Carolyn said.
A locksmith has since repaired the doorway that was damaged during the break-in.
Those close to the investigation said they are looking into whether or not the town’s surveillance cameras captured the moving van involved.
7News has reached out to Bay Harbor Islands Police for more information on the burglary.
If you have any information on this burglary, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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