Union City Police are seeking two suspects who they say are engaging in a bait-and-switch where they place costume jewelry on their victims and then steal the person's real valuables.
Police said three similar incidents were reported last Thursday and Friday. The suspects engaged the victims in conversation and placed costume jewelry onto their necks and wrists. In all three incidents, the victims rejected the jewelry, but the suspects removed the victim's own jewelry and watches while leaving them with the costume pieces.
The suspects are using confusion tactics and sleight of hand to remove the victims' jewelry, police said. Two victims were 79, and the other was 59 years old.
The suspects were described as a Middle Eastern man, 30 to 35 years old with a beard, and a Middle Eastern woman, about the same age.
The victims may have been targeted due to their age and the jewelry they were wearing. Union City Police detectives are pursuing leads and have shared information with other neighboring law enforcement agencies who may be dealing with the same suspects or copycat crimes.
Police are encouraging people to be aware of their surroundings and to be cautious when approached by strangers. Community members can protect themselves by traveling in pairs or small groups as well as by being mindful of the attention they may garner by wearing visible, valuable jewelry and watches.
Union City Police are seeking anyone who may have had similar exchanges with potential suspects or who may have witnessed any of these events to please contact the Union City anonymous tip line at (510) 675-5207 or email Tips@unioncity.org.