According to several posters in the Bay Ridge Parents' group, there is a pleasant enough group of con artists/would be robbers cropping up. These men are described as "in their late 20s to mid 30s, well dressed, a little "edgy" but polished (goatees, shaved heads, etc.)." The kicker is that they are pleasant and friendly (a la Brad Pitt's character in Thelma & Louise?). Here's the list of some of their actions: Stealing coffee at Starbucks, offering services like pumping gas for you, "watching" your computer while you are in the restroom (again at Starbucks), lurking in ATM vestibules and watching transactions (they've been spotted in Citibank and HSBC). Slightly more disturbing, one woman described being followed several blocks towards her home after a pleasant greeting. He didn't make a move to rob her, so perhaps he was trying to find where she lives? (She lost him after jumping a fence - very impressive!)
One poster mentioned that some of the actions could have a connection to identity theft, since none of the incidents followed "typical" mugging/robbery actions. So, sadly, beware of people being a little too friendly. Don't let anyone "watch" your stuff, don't let anyone get too close in the ATM vestibule, and avoid pleasant men who say hello and follow you. By the way, any trend like this can and should be reported to your precinct!