GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Police are warning about a series of "distraction thefts" targeting elderly victims in the Los Angeles area.
A flyer issued by Glendale police lists more than a dozen incidents using similar methods in the Los Angeles and Glendale area in the last three months.
Typically the suspects drive up to victims who may be outdoors, perhaps in front of their homes or in a grocery store parking lot. They strike up a conversation with the victim, often an elderly person.
During the conversation, they use various ruses to distract the victim such as showing them fake jewelry and placing it on them or hugging the person. While that is happening, they are simultaneously removing the victim's jewelry.
Sometimes the suspects show up with children, who provide a further distraction.
In many of the instances, the prime suspect who takes the jewelry has been an adult woman, sometimes accompanied by children, with other suspects remaining in the vehicle.
In one video posted to YouTube, two women are seen driving up and talking to two elderly women who are sitting in chairs on a driveway.
One woman strikes up a conversation with the victim, hugging her first and then showing her some fake jewelry, even placing a necklace over her neck. She leaves her with the fake jewelry but manages to remove the woman's real jewelry without her noticing.
Glendale police issued some safety tips for the public, including: "Walk in groups, don't wear jewelry on walks/keep it hidden under your clothing, & pay attention to your surroundings; look for vehicles and people who may be following you or seem out of place."