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News Release

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Media Relations

Pet Cat Used to Lure Elderly Victims

 

Los Angeles: Commercial Crimes Division (CCD), Burglary Special Section, is investigating a series of distraction burglaries in which the elderly are targeted. Four suspects, including two children, were arrested on January 29, 2004, in North Hollywood for a number of these crimes. The adults would use a ruse posing as roofers in order to gain entry into the elderly person's home. Once inside the children would create a distraction allowing one of the adults or other child to enter other parts of the residence and take money and jewelry.

The suspects identified as Oren Goldverg, age 35 and Millie Distano, 32, were arrested for Elder Abuse/368 Penal Code and initially held on $500,000.00 bail. During their arraignment the bail was increased to 1 million dollars each. The children, ages 13 and 11 are being held at Sylmar Juvenile Detention facility.

The case was presented to the District Attorney's Office in Van Nuys. Five counts of Elder Abuse, Burglary and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor were filed against Goldverg. Four counts of Elder Abuse, Burglary and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor were filed against Distano.

The public is reminded that there are variations of these crimes and should be wary of anyone who attempts to enter their property uninvited. Persons should immediately contact their local police department or Sheriff's station if they are approached by these persons or have been a victim of this crime. Included is a composite of a woman responsible for numerous distraction thefts using the ruse of looking for a lost cat in the victim's back yard.

Detectives from CCD believe that there are a large number of distraction crimes committed by Professional Transit Burglars throughout the city. They are also looking for additional elderly victims of the scam who have not yet come forward.

Anyone with any information may contact Detective Escontrias, Commercial Crimes Division, Burglary Special Section at telephone number (213) 485-2524, or e-mail him at 24189@lapd.lacity.org On the weekends and during off-hours, please call the 24-hour toll free number for the Detective Information Desk, at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).

This news release was prepared by Public Information Officer Sara Faden, Media Relations Section, at 213-485-3586.