South Gate woman kidnapped, robbed of money

DOWNEY, Calif. It was a terrifying ordeal that lasted about six hours. It ended at a Macy's in Downey. L.A. County Sheriff's investigators are saying they've seen similar crimes popping up in the last year and almost every time the target is an elderly woman.

Maria clutches her newly prescribed anxiety medication still shaken and frightened. Friday morning the 69-year-old South Gate resident was loading groceries into her car outside the Super Value Plus in Lynwood when a woman carrying thousands of dollars in cash approached Maria and said she needed a ride to look at real estate.

"She jumped in the car, I said, 'No, get out, get out, I want to go home.' She said 'oh no,' she take my purse," said Maria.

A man believed to be in his 50s then jumped in the car. Maria was ordered to drive to her bank and take out the $1,400 she had in one account. Next they stopped at Maria's house to get more money.

After getting gas, the man and woman took Maria to a nearby Home Depot where they charged $2,600 in merchandise to her credit card, even buying a Christmas tree.

The last stop was at Macy's in Downey. The Hispanic female suspect in her 30s with numerous facial piercings was wearing scrubs, pretending to be Maria's nurse, but the victim says she had a gun in her purse.

After charging another $500 to her credit card, Maria said she had to use the restroom. When she came out the suspects were gone. The kidnappers made off with nearly $2,000 in cash and more than $3,100 in merchandise.

"The people that I talked to on the credit card they are going to try and see if everything can be reversed," said Sandy Mata, Maria's daughter. "The only thing I can hope and pray that they get caught."

Investigators spent a good part of Monday gathering surveillance video. They urge anyone with information related to this case to call the L.A. County Century Station at (323) 569-4801.

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