Detectives are seeking a man and woman who they say fleeced an 80-year-old woman out of $4,000 by persuading her to buy a fake gold brick after meeting her at a Norwalk Target store several months ago, authorities said Wednesday.
The crime took place on the afternoon of Oct. 10, after the scammers approached the victim inside the store along Firestone Boulevard, just west of the 605 Freeway, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said.
"The fraudsters had convinced the 80 year-old lady to buy the 'gold brick' by offering it to her at half the 'gold brick’s' value," Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff's Information Bureau said in a written statement. "Additionally, the suspects claimed the 'gold brick' was real and that they could not sell it because of their illegal immigration status."
Officials said the victim then drove to her bank with the con artists, where she withdrew $4,000 and handed it over to them. The victim later realized the gold bar was phony.
Investigators described the female suspect as a Latina woman in her 40s, about 5 feet tall and about 210 pounds. She wore a black shirt, blue jeans, a dark bandana on her head and sunglasses.
He male accomplice was a Latino man of about 60 years old, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and 180 pounds. He wore a light green shirt, tan pants and a straw hat.
Investigators said they believe the man and woman have targeted other elderly victims in the area as well in recent weeks.
"The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wants you to know that the elderly are frequent targets of con artists like these because generally, elderly individuals exemplify politeness and trust, are willing to listen and are considered naïve," according to the statement. "The elderly may also tend be alone and not able to provide enough detailed information to family or investigators."
Officials urged people to be weary of anyone selling products in public.
"If the deal or prize is too good to be true, it's more than likely a scam," the statement said. "Walk away and don't give these individuals your attention or time."
Anyone with information was urged to contact Detective Hernandez of the Sheriff's Norwalk Station at 562-466-5431, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.