Police Investigate Jewelry Swap Theft Case with Elderly Victim

Published on February 03, 2023

Palo Alto, CA Police are investigating a grand theft case in a business parking lot yesterday, where two suspects conspired to remove a necklace from an elderly female victim.  The victim was not physically injured, and the suspects are unknown and at large.

On Thursday, February 2, 2023, at about 11:11 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a woman in her sixties reporting that she had been the victim of a grand theft in the parking lot of the Walgreens at 4170 El Camino Real about an hour earlier.

The investigation revealed that the victim had just parked and exited her car when a white sedan, driven by a man with a female passenger, pulled up to her.  The woman asked her for directions to the freeway, to which the victim responded.  The woman then motioned the victim closer to the car and thanked for her for the help by placing a ring on the victim’s finger.  The victim said that wasn’t necessary, returning the ring and backing away.  The female then got out of the car and placed a necklace around the victim’s neck, apparently to thank her for giving them the directions.  The victim then walked away, and the suspects drove off in an unknown direction.

When the victim returned home, she realized that the female suspect had stolen her own gold necklace from around her neck (with a value of over $1000) at the same time she had placed the new necklace on her.  The victim then notified police.

The victim said the couple was possibly of “Indian” descent.  She said they were both between 50 and 60 years old.  The male had a black beard.  The victim could not recall any further details about either suspect, or their white sedan.

No similar jewelry swap crimes have been reported to police recently in Palo Alto.  The most recent such case occurred in May 2022, and there were two others before that dating back to October 2021.  To read the news releases about the prior events, click here, here, and here.  Detectives are investigating to see if there is any connection between the cases, or with any other similar crimes in other cities.  The prior cases remain unsolved as well, with no suspects identified.

Police recommend that adult children and caregivers of elderly residents discuss these recent incidents with them and make them aware of the scam.  Police recommend that you always remain aware of your surroundings and be cautious if approached by a stranger or occupants of an unfamiliar vehicle.  Police recommend maintaining a safe distance from any stranger or unfamiliar, unoccupied vehicle.  Be aware of robbery attempts like these, and other criminal behavior that may occur, and promptly report suspicious behavior or crimes to the police by calling our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413, or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

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