San Ramon police investigators are looking into an unusual jewelry robbery at Mosaic Park in their city – at the same time police in Berkeley and apparently other Bay Area locations are searching for a group of thieves using remarkably similar distraction and grab tactics to victimize older residents walking alone while wearing expensive jewelry.
In Berkeley, a carload of people robbed a 95-year-old woman of a necklace and diamond ring Thanksgiving Day.
San Ramon PD Capt. Cary Goldberg confirmed an eerily similar robbery of an elderly victim in his city the day before Thanksgiving, a robbery which ended when the thieves drove off with $8,000 worth of jewelry taken from their victim. Further investigation determined similar cases in Pleasanton, Brentwood and Alameda as well.
In the San Ramon case, an elderly woman walking near Mosaic Park at roughly 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 was approached by two individuals in a white Mercedes-Benz SUV. The SUV was driven by a heavyset white male in his 50s, a white female in her mid/late 30s spoke to the victim through the rear passenger window. After a short conversation, the suspect exited the vehicle and used a sleight-of-hand technique to remove the victim’s necklace and bracelets before getting back into the car and driving away.
At roughly 12:15 pm Sunday, an elderly female walking along Cinnamon Ridge Road was approached by an Asian Indian female in her 30’s (hair in a ponytail). The female exited the passenger door of a newer model black BMW X3 SUV driven by an Asian-Indian male in his 30’s. During this incident, the suspect engaged the elderly victim in conversation. Again, a sleight-of-hand technique was used to remove the victim’s highly valuable watch from her wrist before the suspect got back into the vehicle and left the area.
Police said this latest crime trend was not specific to any one city and occurred throughout the Bay Area over the holiday weekend. Although the suspect’s descriptions may be different, their theft methods are the same and were consistent with other thefts committed in Bay Area cities. Fortunately, there have been no injuries reported during these crimes.
Police expressed concern that the thieves were targeting elderly individuals wearing expensive jewelry and watches while out for walks by themselves in areas with limited potential witnesses and security cameras.