The Collier County Sheriff’s Office has released a composite sketch of a man wanted in connection with a string of distraction theft suspects targeting elderly people for their jewelry.
CCSO says thieves in recent distraction thefts typically use a ruse to approach elderly people, usually in grocery store parking lots, and take the victim’s watch or jewelry without them noticing.
The victims told detectives they were approached by a man accompanied by one or two women, who then struck up a conversation with them. During these conversations, the suspects used various tricks to distract the victims, such as asking for directions and then asking the victim to put the information on their phone. While the victims were gathering information, the thieves simultaneously removed the victim’s jewelry.
In some cases, the suspects asked the victims to pray with them for a sick family member. After the prayer, the suspects offered the victims valuables in thanks. By putting fake jewelry on the victims, the suspects managed to remove their personal valuables.
CCSO Safety Tips:
- Go in groups or pairs
- Do not wear valuable jewelry while shopping or hide it under clothing
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Look for vehicles or people who may be following you or seem out of place
- Report unusual activity to law enforcement
If you recognize him or have information on his identity, please contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 252-9300. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477.