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News Release

Monday, December 9, 2002

Media Relations

Gypsy Scam Artists Prey Upon Elderly West Side Victims

"Gypsy Scam Artists Prey Upon Elderly West Side Victims"

 

Who:
Captain Jerry Szymanski, Commanding Officer of Burglary Auto Theft Division, Victims of "Gypsy" Scams

What:
Press Conference to warn public and locate suspects

Where:
West Los Angeles Police Station, 1663 Butler Avenue, West L.A.

When:
Monday December 9, 2002, 2:00 PM

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department is issuing a crime alert of criminals targeting the elderly. The Detectives from Burglary Auto Theft Division are investigating a series of thefts/burglaries perpetrated by what appear to be Transient Burglary suspects commonly known as "Gypsies." The victims are normally elderly people, living on their own or with another elderly person. It appears that there are several groups working the West Side who may be related.

WILSHIRE AREA

The suspects contact the victim(s) and purport to be new to the neighborhood. They indicate that they will perform landscaping or other outdoor construction jobs adjacent to the victim’s property. The victim is then lured to the rear of the residence. A second or third suspect then enters the residence via an unlocked door. The team is comprised of one male and one or two females. The suspects have been described as Male White or Hispanic, with black hair, brown eyes, 5’-5" to 6’-0" in height, 150-180 lbs. in weight, and 25-45 years of age. The females are White or Hispanic with black or brown hair, brown eyes, 5’-3" to 5’-8" in height, 100-150 lbs. in weight, and early to mid 30’s years in age. The vehicle has been described as a white station wagon, unknown make or model without license plates.

WEST LOS ANGELES AREA

These suspects represent themselves as contractors working on roofs in the area. They insist upon showing the victim existing roof damage on the victim’s residence. Once outside, one suspect distracts the victim while the other suspects enter the house via an unlocked door. They steal money and jewelry. The suspects have been described as male White or Hispanic with black hair, brown eyes, 5’-5" to 6’-0" in height, 170-215 pounds in weight and 30-45 years of age. The females are White or Hispanic with black, blond or brown hair, brown eyes, 5’-2" to 5’-7" in height, 120-140 lbs. in weight, and early to mid 30’s years in age. One female has been described as having decaying front top teeth. The vehicles seen have been described as a white van, white station wagon, and a brown truck.

PACIFIC AREA

The suspects knock on the victim’s door and present themselves as acquaintances of the victim. As the victim is trying to recall the suspects, the suspect along with up to five additional suspects rush pass the victim. Due to the number of suspects, the victim is unable to keep track of all of the suspects. The suspects take money and jewelry. The suspects are described as male Whites or Hispanic with black or brown hair, brown eyes, 5’-6" to 6’-0" in height, 140-200 pounds in weight and 20-50 years of age. The females are White or Hispanic with brown hair, brown eyes, 5’-3" to 5’-5" in height, 115-130 lbs. in weight, and 14 to mid 20’s in age. The vehicles have been described as a silver Nissan and blue/gray 4-door American made vehicle.

Composite pictures of the suspects will be made available at the press conference.

Anyone with any information should contact Detectives Woods or Escontrias, Burglary Auto Theft Division, at 213-485-2524. On weekends or during off-hours, please call the 24 hour toll free number at Detective Information Desk, 1-877-LAWFULL, 1-877-529-3855.

This press release was prepared by Sergeant John Pasquariello, LAPD Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.