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Cerritos “pigeon drop” suspects arrested

Cerritos “pigeon drop” suspects arrested

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two suspects in a “pigeon drop” scam on January 22. Detectives are now seeking the public’s help in identifying additional victims of the scam.

On January 22, Cerritos Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested two suspects after they allegedly attempted to steal $20,000 from an 83-year-old woman in what is commonly known as a “pigeon drop” scam. One of the suspects allegedly contacted the elderly victim in a supermarket parking lot, told the victim she found $120,000 in cash and showed the victim a purse filled with money.

The victim told the suspect to call the police, but the suspect allegedly told the victim that she worked for an attorney who said she could keep the money if she found two witnesses. The suspect also allegedly told the victim that if she could prove she was “trustworthy” and that she had $20,000 in the bank, she would split the $120,000 with her.

The victim agreed, and the two suspects drove to a Bank of America branch in Cerritos where the victim withdrew $10,000 in cash from her account. The suspects then drove the victim to a US Bank branch in Cerritos where the victim attempted to withdraw another $10,000. The teller at US Bank asked the victim for the reason for the withdrawal. When the victim informed the teller of the reason, the teller called 911.

When deputies arrived at the US Bank branch, they discovered the two suspects in the parking lot waiting for the victim. One of the suspects was wearing a wig that disguised her appearance, and the suspects were in a red 2010 Dodge. Deputies found evidence in the car that leads investigators to believe that there may be additional victims.

According to court records, one of the suspects has three prior felony convictions between 2009 and 2014 in Los Angeles, Orange and Sacramento counties for thefts from elders. Court records also indicate that the second suspect was convicted of check forgery in Los Angeles County in 2003.

On March 9, the two suspects were held on charges of attempted elder abuse, attempted grand theft and conspiracy after a preliminary hearing at Norwalk Superior Court. They were ordered to return for arraignment in Norwalk Superior Court Department on March 23. Both suspects are out of custody on bond.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives believe there are additional victims and are seeking the public’s help to identify them. If you or someone you know was a victim of this scam, or if you have information about possible additional victims, contact Detective Richard Kent at the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station at (562) 860-0044.

Cerritos residents are encouraged to observe the activities in their neighborhoods and report any suspicious activity to the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station immediately by calling (562) 860-0044. To report an emergency or a crime in progress, residents should call 911. More crime prevention tips are available on the City’s Safer Cerritos website at safercerritos.com.

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