Neighbors of Gilgo Beach suspect 'joked there were BODIES in garden'

Gilgo Beach ‘serial killer chopped wood silently while glaring at neighbor who said hello to him, while another joked there were BODIES in his garden,’ spooked locals say

  • Residents in Rex Heuermann’s sleepy Long Island neighborhood have offered a glimpse into his nightmarish double life
  • Spooked locals revealed he would steal from local stores, chop wood menacingly, and allowed his home to fall into disrepair
  • READ MORE: How the decade-long hunt for the infamous Gilgo Beach serial killer zeroed in on the 59-year-old architect

Terrified locals have offered a chilling insight into the world of accused serial murderer Rex Heuermann, with his creepy reputation leading one neighbor to recall joking that his ghoulish, dilapidated house was filled with bodies. 

The Manhattan architect has seemingly led a nightmarish double-life, as those who knew him often give dueling descriptions of a pedantic Manhattan architect who defied his job by living in a ‘dungeon’-like home.

The 59-year-old exhibited disturbing and menacing behavior in his sleepy Massapequa Park community, residents say, which freaked out the neighborhood and led some to order their children to avoid his home.

‘We would cross the street,’ said Nicholas Ferchaw, 24, to the New York Times. ‘He was somebody you don’t want to approach.’ 

Heuermann remains in custody in New York facing three charges of first-degree murder, as investigators continue to attempt to link him to the infamous Gilgo Beach serial killer. 

Manhattan architect Rex Heuermann, 59, is charged with three murders attributed to the Gilgo Beach serial killer, and is the prime suspect in a fourth victim’s murder

Nicholas Ferchaw (pictured) said the suspected killer was so creepy in the neighborhood people would ‘cross the street’

While those who lived near Heuermann describe him as a cold, scary individual who would dress in grubby clothes, others who encountered him as a Manhattan architect told a very different story. 

‘(He is) a gem to deal with, highly knowledgeable,’ said Steve Kramberg, a property manager in Brooklyn who worked with Heuermann for 30 years. 

He described him as a ‘big goofy guy’ who was ‘a little bit on the nerdy side’, which manifested as a dedicated worker who was more than detailed in his work.

According to his website, Heuermann counted American Airlines and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection among his lucrative clients. 

But while Kramberg said his round-the-clock availability and attention to specifics was a bonus, others were rubbed the wrong way by his antics. 

Paul Tietelbaun, a former president of a building’s board that hired Heuermann for renovations, said he exhibited an attitude of: ‘I’m the expert, you’re lucky to have me.’ 

‘(He was) a really kind of cold and distant person, kind of creepy,’ he added. 

Another member of the board, Kelly Parisi, echoed this as she recalled how the building’s managers eventually fired Heuermann because he was ‘overly fastidious’ and ‘adversarial with everyone.’ 

This image of a high strung, cumbersome Heuermann is different to the man known to his neighbors, however, who paint him as an unsettled loner. 

After hearing news of his arrest, Ferchaw said he ‘wasn’t surprised at all… because of all the creepiness.’ 

He added one eerie run-in with Heuermann, where he went over to say hello to the architect in the street as he was cutting wood. He said the 59-year-old responded with silence, continuing to chop the wood while staring at him in the face. 

Heuermann, who has lived for decades across a bay from where the remains were found, is charged with killing (L to R): Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello

Those who knew Heuermann have given varying descriptions, with some seeing him as a successful but cumbersome Manhattan architect while others saw him as a creepy loner

The chasm between Heuermann’s Manhattan life and his time in Long Island was noted by neighbors shortly after his arrest, when dozens of people flocked to catch a glimpse of his home. 

Locals told they felt like they were ‘living in a true crime documentary’ as details of the alleged killer’s secret crimes emerged. 

‘He was an architect, but his house looks like a dungeon,’ said Bonni Petrone, 57, whose sister graduated high school with Heuermann in the close knit town. 

Heuermann’s home, which he lived in since he was a child, was noted by all those around as a creepy, run down property, as one resident said it even sparked concern.

Rex Heuermann is shown in one of his Tinder profile pictures. Police tracked the fictitious email account he used on the profile and his burner phone number to the case

Mike Schmidt, who has lived in the Massapequa Park neighborhood for a decade, said he often visits his friend whose property backs onto Heuermann’s.

He said when they drink beers in the backyard, they would look at the home and remark: ‘He probably has bodies there.’ 

Schmidt recalled that while children often avoid the creepy home on Halloween, last year he and his friend took their kids to the home – purely to satisfy their curiosity and take a look inside. 

He said they were greeted by Heuermann at the door, who surprised them by giving out full pumpkins of candy to the children. 

However, Schmidt told the Times that his wife was appalled to find out where the candy was from and made him throw it out. 

Another resident, Tara Alonzo, revealed she had a disturbing run-in with Heuermann in the Whole Foods where she works in Long Island. 

She told that he stole oranges from the store’s kid’s club, where parents leave their children while they shop. When he was confronted by staff, she says he responded: ‘If I was wearing a suit like I wear most days, you wouldn’t be talking to me like this.’

She said he then strolled out of the store with five or six oranges in his hands, leaving the staff perplexed by the ‘weird’ customer.

The suspect’s house sits directly north of Gilgo Beach across the South Oyster Bay  

Forensics teams working at Heuermann’s home on Friday. A freezer was among items seized 

Heuermann remains in custody charged with first and second degree murder in connection with the deaths of three victims, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. Authorities say he is also the ‘prime suspect’ in another killing.

Cops have released a laundry list of ‘red flags’ that they say led them to Heuermann as a suspect, with the first piece of evidence being a Chevrolet Avalanche owned by him and linked to the murder of Costello by a witness.

According to documents filed in Suffolk County court, investigators were then able to link that car to Heuermann’s cellphone records, which tied him to locations related to the murders, which eventually led to a DNA sample.

Cops say that Heuermann used Melissa Barthelemy’s phone to make taunting phone calls to her family from the victim’s phone, calls that were made steps from his swanky Manhattan office.

Following the identification of Heuermann as the owner of the Chevrolet, cops issued over 300 subpoenas, search warrants and other legal processes to obtain further evidence.

After the decade-long hunt for the killer seemingly ended this week, dramatic aerial footage revealed forensic searches of his property were being carried out as authorities continue to try and link him to more unsolved homicides.

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