2 women wanted for Target kidnapping, robbery

HAWTHORNE, Calif. Hawthorne Police are on the hunt for two women running an old scam. But it's their new violent twist that has detectives so concerned.

She's a wanted con artist and Hawthorne Police are hoping the public will be able to match a name with the face. The scam unfolded earlier May in the parking lot of the Target store on West 120th Street.

Investigators say the suspect seen in a surveillance photo and her female partner targeted an 81-year-old woman. The suspect tried to convince their elderly victim they had found a wallet full of cash and would split it with her.

"The regular con game went south on us and one of the suspects showed the victim that she was in fact armed with a handgun," said Hawthorne Police Lt. Gary Tomatani. "And our concern is that the suspects in these particular cons have a propensity for violence which we haven't witnessed or seen in the past."

Investigators say the suspect with the gun forced the victim to drive her to her home, where she robbed her of her jewelry, then forced the elderly woman to drive her back to Target, where she got out and ran.

The armed suspect is described as African-American, 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a heavy build and her hair in a ponytail.

Her accomplice is described as an African-American woman, 6 feet tall, weighing 170 pounds, about 30 years old and wearing a brown business suit. Police say she disappeared from the scene after the initial confrontation with the victim.

But detectives are hoping the clear picture of the armed suspect will be the key to catching both thieves.

"These people are predators," said Tomatani. "They are preying on those who are unsuspecting or weaker than they are and that's why we need the public to step forward and identify who that person is."

Authorities say they believe that the two women have been running their scam for a while. They also say they believe that there likely are other victims out there.

If you recognize the suspect in that photo, you're urged to call Hawthorne Police at (310) 349-2700.

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