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Gold bar scam: 2 men targeting women in Orange County

Brea police release these surveillance photos of two men suspected of scamming women at shopping centers, using gold bars.
September 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities in Orange County are searching for two men suspected of scamming women at shopping centers using gold bars.

According to police, a 27-year-old woman was pushing her young child in a cart when she was approached by an older man inside a Wal-Mart store on the 2500 block of East Imperial Highway in Brea on Sept. 5. The woman said the man showed her three gold bars.

"They were described by the victim as being about four inches long, about one inch thick. They were in some sort of a black velvet type cloth," said Lt. Bill Smyser of the Brea Police Department.

Police say the man, believed to be 60 to 70 years old, asked the victim for help to sell the gold, claiming he's desperate for money.

At that point, another male suspect came up and pretended not to know the first suspect. He asked about the value of the gold bar. During the conversation, the two men convinced the woman that the bar was real and told her to drive them to a place where they could have the bar appraised. She agreed.

While they were driving out of the parking lot, the second suspect took out a knife and forced the woman to drive to her bank, where she took out money and gave it to the suspect. They also forced her to give up her jewelry before she dropped them back off at the Wal-Mart parking lot. Police said the suspects then fled in their own red vehicle, possibly a Toyota RAV4-style SUV with a spare tire on the back.

Authorities suspect the same two men are involved in similar robberies. Last November, the suspects found a victim shopping at a Target in Westminster. Another victim was targeted last January at a Sam's Club in Stanton.

"They're approaching women with small children and they're approaching Spanish-speaking women, who may not want to report this to police because of fear of deportation," said Smyser.

Police urge people to report crimes right away and to be careful. They say if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.

The first suspect was described as 60 to 70 years old, standing about 5 feet 2 inches tall. He is missing his two front teeth and walks with a limp.

The second suspect was described as 40 to 50 years old, standing about 5 feet 10 inches tall. He weighs about 200 pounds and has a moustache.

Anyone with information was asked to call Brea police at (714) 990-7677.


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