BROOKLINE — Anthony P. Binsfield always told the same story, authorities said.
The licensed refrigeration technician walked into Coolidge Corner businesses and told employees he was there to work on heating or air conditioning systems or check on a thermostat, police said.
The story was Binsfield’s ticket to private areas of beauty salons and restaurants, where authorities allege he stole cash, wallets, and credit cards that employees had stored out of view while they worked.
Since last Tuesday, Binsfield had repeated the phony tale more than a half dozen times at Brookline businesses, court records show. Before that, police allege Binsfield talked his way into at least at four establishments in Boston using the same ruse.
“The term brazen I think fits the bill,” Brookline police Lieutenant Philip Harrington said Thursday.
Officers put a stop to the scheme Wednesday evening on Harvard Street, where Binsfield, 32, was arrested after pilfering a wallet from a worker at The Paris Creperie, police said.
He got into the cafe by telling another employee that he worked for the property manager and needed to check the HVAC system, according to a police report. The same employee gave Binsfield a ladder so he could access machinery on the second floor, the report said.
After his arrest, Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Daniel Kaufman said Binsfield described himself to investigators as a heroin addict who recently relapsed.
Defense attorney Timothy Foley described Binsfield as a divorced father who lives with his parents and most recently worked in the mechanical engineering department at a local university. His client’s heroin addiction, Foley said, stemmed from medication he was prescribed to treat a high school football injury....
Yes, it's a “story that’s all too familiar.”