Months after police warned the community about thieves targeting elderly Asian people to steal their gold jewelry, an arrest has been made.
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Calin Covaci, 29, was arrested Sunday in City Heights, San Diego police Sgt. Sgt. Kenneth Impellizeri said.
Police were called to the 4500 block of University Avenue around 3:30 p.m. for a disturbance. When they arrived, the person who called told police the people inside an SUV were the people from the crime spree reported on the news, he said.
“One of the potential victims called his friend who was the victim in the previous case,” told Times of San Diego. “That person came to the scene and identified the male as the suspect and he was arrested.”
The incident was recorded and broadcasted live on Facebook. The video showed police talking to a man, woman and two children.
Police sent out a notice in November, warning people of thieves targeting elder people in the Asian community. In that warning, police said the suspects were seen casing Buddhist temples in the City Heights area. Sunday’s arrest happened outside the Thien Hau Temple.
The suspects have been targeting communities with a high concentration of Asian Americans, such as Linda Vista and Mira Mesa.
Police say the suspects would approach unsuspecting victims asking for them to try on costume jewelry and then take off with the victim’s gold jewelry. The suspects have also targeted unsuspecting victims by posing as out-of-towners asking for directions, according to several Facebook posts warning people about suspects.
In each incident, the suspects, a man and a woman, was seen driving an SUV with two children in the back. In each of the incidents, police said the suspects would drive a different rental SUV.
In Sunday’s incident, only the male suspect was arrested because he was the only one identified. The woman who was with him was detained for questioning and released, along with the two children, Impellizeri said.
It was unclear what the relationship was between the man, woman and children.
Impellizeri said there may be other victims who have yet to come forward.
Anyone who was a victim, or has more information about the suspect, was urged to contact the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000.
Gold Jewelry Thief Suspected of Targeting Asian Community Arrested was last modified: March 7th, 2019 by
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