'Boyfriend Bandit' may have more victims


Over the last 18 months, David Fonseca Benavidez, 24, allegedly befriended three older women from the Thousand Oaks area, gained their trust and lived with two of them for short periods of time in order to steal jewelry and other valuables from them and their families.

Detectives said he also broke into an ex-girlfriend's parents' home while they were on vacation.

"This is a unique method of operation in that he actually preyed on his relationships with his women, the girlfriends and in one case the ex-girlfriend," said Capt. Don Aguilar of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. "That method of operation was clear in that he kept going back to these relationships and depriving these people of their property while he in fact lived with them."

Benavidez was arrested Friday on charges of residential burglary, grand theft and possession of stolen property. He was being held at the Ventura County Main Jail on $55,000 bail.

Authorities said had the women logged on for free to the Ventura County Courts website, they would have seen Benavidez's criminal history. Benavidez was convicted last June for possession of a deadly weapon and also forfeited bail four times.

David Perry, a security expert at Trend Micro, says the Internet gives people the option of researching who they let into their life.

"Those poor women, they could've looked this guy up on the Internet, they would've easily found stuff about him," Perry said. "[It's] not always possible. This is not always the thing you're going to be able to use the Internet to prevent."

The Internet works both ways, so Perry recommends people not to grant access to their personal information on social networking sites.

"I see people's Facebook pages that tell me they're on vacation until the 5th of August, that tell me exactly where their house is, that tell me their mother's maiden name and a dozen other important facts that can be used against them," Perry said.

Anyone with information on Benavidez was asked to call Thousand Oaks police at (805) 494-8200.

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