A San Bernardino man was arrested after a five-day crime spree involving theft by false pretenses and elder abuse in the Big Bear area.
According to officials at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, 34-year-old Leonard Zanfir was identified after several incidents between February 13 and February 18 in which he claimed to need cash due to lost passports and offered fake jewelry in exchange for $1,000 cash, telling victims that the jewelry was valued at $2,000.
An elderly victim feared for their safety complied with Zanfir’s request, and after complying, Zanfir demanded an additional $1,000 cash from the victim, who complied again.
The jewelry that victims received from Zanfir was found to be fake and had no monetary value.
Authorities were able to identify two vehicles being used during the thefts and subsequently served a search warrant at Zanfir’s residence in San Bernardino which turned up large amounts of currency, fake gold jewelry and fake Rolex watches.
Zanfir was booked into custody at the Central Detention Center on charges of theft by false pretense and elder abuse and has since posted bail and is no longer in custody.
Investigators believe there are additional victims in many local areas, including Big Bear Lake, Highland, San Bernardino, Redlands, Fontana, Chino Hills, Torrance, Grand Terrace, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Hesperia and Palm Springs.
Anyone with information regarding any of these incidents should contact the SBSD’s Big Bear Sheriff Station at 909-866-0100 or report anonymously at www.wetip.com