Irvine police warn cash delivery jobs promising thousands of dollars end in carjackings

Jessica De Nova Image
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Irvine police warn of carjacking scam targeting Latino communities
Irvine police are warning about a scam that is targeting Latino communities on social media. The ads look for drivers to deliver cash, but things take a turn when they show up.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- It's a seemingly quick and easy job: the delivery of cash in exchange for $12,000. But police warn it may end with your car being stolen.

"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is," cautioned Kyle Oldoerp, a public information specialist with the Irvine Police Department.

Instead of victims making thousands of dollars, investigators say suspects end up getting away with their car.

Oldoerp says the scam starts with ads or messaging, usually in Spanish and on Facebook Marketplace.

One victim shared an example with police, which reads as follows: "I am looking for a driver to move money, leaving from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, with our without a license... You can be accompanied by friends or family."

Man warns of car scam after video shows men tampering with vehicle

A Corona man who recently sold his car is dealing with a sour situation. The buyers were caught on camera messing with his vehicle and made him think he was selling a lemon. Authorities think there might be more victims of this scam.

Promises of discretion, stops in public places and paid expenses entice victims.

There have been 11 reported cases in Irvine over the past year.

Police say the suspect heads to the money pick-up location and that's when things take a turn.

"They're either threatening violence or, in the most recent cases, they're exhibiting a handgun and ordering the victims out of their vehicle. Most of these vehicles are being driven down to Mexico after they're stolen," Oldoerp said.

Authorities say within two hours, most of the stolen cars are south of the border.

Now, help is on the way to keep up with crimes like these.

The city of Irvine secured $2 million in state funding for the development of the Real Time Crime Center, or RTCC, which expected to be up and running within a year.

Police Chief Michael Kent said crime analysts will work in real time on crime trends from the RTCC, feeding that information live to officers on calls.

"The historical data is critically important because you're putting patterns together and you're identifying suspect patterns as well, knowing the direction of travel or the type of vehicle or a certain license plate or the number of suspects, the suspect description," Kent said.

Irvine police encourage anyone who notices a suspicious ad to contact their local law enforcement agency immediately, and if they've already made arrangements to meet with someone in another city, contact the corresponding law enforcement agency.