City of San Fernando police are seeking the public’s help in identifying persons who have been approaching elderly citizens on the streets, and then rob them or attempt to scam them, a department spokesman said.
Lt. Irwin Rosenberg said the latest incident occurred Monday, March 14, when a 76-year resident was approached by a Latina adult saying she had a $400,000 winning lottery ticket and would share part of the money with him if he could give her the cash needed to help her claim the winnings.
“She took the man over to the Bank of America, telling him she would give him $15,000 of the $400,000, but she needed him to get $2,500 cash to [claim the prize],” Rosenberg said.
“Fortunately the victim was unable to get the money. The female suspect, and the male suspect adult she was working with both fled in a black Nissan four-door vehicle.”
Monday’s incident comes on the heels of two previous robberies, Rosenberg said.
On March 9, he said, an unknown female and male approached an elderly female — also age 76 — in the area of San Fernando Road and Brand Boulevard.
The female suspect briefly spoke to the victim about a church then suddenly demanded the victim’s jewelry, while holding or simulating the holding of a weapon behind her back. The suspects took the woman’s wedding ring and other jewelry items, Rosenberg said.
The female suspect on March 9 was described as Middle Eastern with light skin, brown hair with white and blonde streaks, light brown hazel eyes with dark spots underneath, and spoke broken Spanish, Rosenberg said. There was no description of the male suspect.
The other incident occurred two weeks before that, Rosenberg said, when the suspects targeted elderly victims and took their jewelry, currency and miscellaneous items “by means of force or fear.”
Each time the suspects fled in what was described then as a 2020 or 2021 black Jeep Grand Cherokee with chrome trim around the windows and silver wheels. The license plates are unknown.
“We’re still trying to identify the suspects and get more information,” Rosenberg said. “We don’t really have any workable leads, and we are hoping the public can help us. Maybe there are others who have been victims of the same crimes and haven’t reported them.
“People that might have additional information that could be helpful, or people who know who these [suspects] might be, would be helpful to us. We don’t want those who are most vulnerable to be preyed upon.”
He said the woman who had her wedding ring stolen recently lost her husband to COVID-19.
“That ring was extremely important to her and, sadly, now she doesn’t even have that,” Rosenberg said.
The lieutenant also said police could not yet confirm if the same suspects were involved in the three mentioned incidents, or if there were separate male-and-female teams.
“[The suspects] could know we’re looking for them and have switched up their method of operation,” Rosenberg said. “The elderly and others need to be alert…the ‘lottery ticket’ is an old scam that’s been tried on many in the past. If someone has a winning ticket, they don’t need others to assist them to get their winnings.”
Anyone who might have information regarding these or similar incidents is asked to contact the SFPD Detective Division at (818) 898-1256, or specifically Detective Alexander Licea at (818) 898-1261. Tips can be made anonymously.