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The La Palma Police Department wants to warn residents about a crime trend occurring in the areas of Orange and Los Angeles counties that may pose a risk to anyone wearing jewelry when walking around the community.
Perpetrators drive around residential areas and target elderly victims wearing gold jewelry and/or watches. They approach the victim to ask for directions or initiate conversation. In response to the victim’s kindness, they then offer several pieces of jewelry, either by hand or by attempting to put the jewelry on the victim themselves. This creates a distraction that allows the suspects within close range, whereupon they will remove the victim’s jewelry, usually without the victim’s knowledge, and drive away. In some cases, when the victim realizes what is happening, the suspects will take the jewelry by force.
The suspects are generally described as a male and female couple in their 30’s and 40’s, Middle Eastern or Hispanic, and sometimes in the company of a small child. They drive a variety of rental vehicles.
It is best to not get within arm’s reach of these perpetrators, refuse any offers for free jewelry, and promptly walk away. Try to obtain a detailed suspect and vehicle description. Whenever possible, attempt to take pictures of or note down license plates. If you are approached by suspicious individuals and force is threatened or used to take your jewelry, cooperate with the suspects; your jewelry is not worth serious injury or death. It might be best to not wear expensive jewelry while out on your walks in the community.
As always, if you see a suspicious vehicle or person following you, say something. The Police Department is just a phone call away at 714-690-3370.