A man and a woman from Romania were arrested in Riverside County earlier this week for a distraction theft and investigators believe the suspects may have been involved in other similar robberies.  

On Aug. 7, Riverside County deputies assigned to Eastvale’s Special Enforcement Team responded to the parking lot of a business located in the 5000 block of Hamner Avenue on reports of the robbery, according to a RCSD news release. 

At the scene, deputies learned that an elderly victim had been lured into a conversation by the suspects, later identified as 27-year-old Petre Alexandru and 22-year-old Gratiela Stoian.  

“During the interaction, the suspects distracted the victim and robbed him of jewelry he was wearing. The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle,” the release noted.  

Investigators were able to identify the suspects’ vehicle and also learned that the couple was responsible for a similar theft in Vancouver, Canada.  

Distraction thieves in Riverside County
Petre Alexandru, 27, and Gratiela Stoian, 22, seen here, were arrested for an alleged distraction theft on Aug. 7, 2023. (RCSD)

The pair were located in Palm Springs and arrested. A search of their vehicle resulted in the discovery of several necklaces, rings, watches, and bracelets authorities believe may belong to other unidentified victims of their distraction thefts.  

Alexandru and Stoian were booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center, where their bail was set at $500,000 each. They are facing charges of elder abuse, robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime.  

Anyone with information about this case or those who may have been a victim of the suspects is urged to contact Deputy Morris at the Jurupa Valley Sheriff’s Station at 951-776-1099.