Fremont Police Say Gold Chain Muggings on the Rise

December 10, 2014 Posted by admin

FREMONT, Calif. – Indian American women living in Fremont, Calif., have increasingly become the targets of gold chain snatchers, with many of the assaults occurring as thieves brandish fire-arms, say local police.

Fremont Police Department spokeswoman Geneva Bosques told India-West that – in the past three months – 13 gold chain snatchings have been reported in the city’s downtown shopping area, while a few others have occurred in residential neighborhoods.

Two of the robberies occurred during home invasions. All targets have been Indian American women. Almost all of the robberies have occurred in broad daylight; in several incidents, the thieves have brandished weapons.

The chains have varied in value from $300 to as much as $3,000, said Bosques. “The suspects are aware of Indian cultural norms and know Indian women wear these heavy chains,” she said, noting that the necklaces are usually sold off after the theft as scrap gold.

A legitimate gold buyer – such as a pawn shop – is mandated to ask for government-issued identification from sellers However, informal buyers, such as “pop-up” shops, may not always require identification, making it easier for thieves to sell off their ill-gotten loot.

Two suspects were arrested late last month in connection with several of the assaults, which occurred in the Ardenwood area of Fremont. As an elderly woman was robbed, a witness spotted the license plate of the get-away car. Police matched the license plate to a rental car and found that car had been used in several other incidents. The suspects were arrested in the nearby town of Milpitas.

In three incidents last month, police reported a Nov. 10 chain-snatching in a residential neighborhood on Stevenson Blvd. The victim reported that a 5’10” bald African American man approached in her apartment complex parking lot that afternoon, then grabbed the gold chain off her neck and took off on foot.

A similar robbery occurred Nov. 11 on Liberty and Kearney Street, nearby to the popular Lake Elizabeth Park area; in that case, the suspect is of Hispanic or Middle Eastern origin, according to police. Two days later, another Indian American woman reported to police that a man in his mid-20s ripped her gold chain off her neck as she was walking near the Fremont Hub shopping area.

In one of the most terrifying incidents, two suspects – a male and a female – stalked a 70-year-old woman around the cavernous Walmart on Osgood Road. As she was preparing to leave with her family, she was grabbed from behind by the male. He dragged her for some time until he broke apart her chain, then fled off with the necklace into a get-away car driven by the female suspect.

The elderly woman was seriously injured and required hospitalization, according to police.

Police in the nearby city of Sunnyvale have also reported a rash of robberies, logging 15 chain-snatchings between May and September. Guns were brandished in two instances.

“It’s terrifying to have something ripped off your neck,” Bosques told India-West. “We don’t want our community to be victims, but it’s hard for us to say, ‘don’t wear your chains.’ It’s difficult for people to change their cultural or religious norms.” She advised women to wear their chains under their clothing when walking and to constantly be aware of their surroundings.

The Fremont Police Department released a bulletin last month, noting there has been an increasing in chain snatchings since October. In each case, the robbery has occurred in broad daylight; an unknown male suspect has approached a victim and forcibly ripped a high-value chain off her neck. Numerous witnesses have described the suspect or suspects as black male adults, between the age of 20-35 years old and tall with a “skinny” or “fit” build.

A significant number of resources have been devoted to finding the suspects, reported the police department, noting that one arrest was made Nov. 5.

The bulletin advised women not to carry large amounts of money or wear expensive jewelry when outdoors. Even if a necklace is concealed under clothing, it still may be possible for a suspect to see a shimmer on the neckline.

Police also advised women not to be distracted by their cell phones or head phones and to constantly be aware of who might be watching them from a vehicle, or “shoulder surfing” them at an ATM machine.

If uncomfortable walking to a parking lot from a retailer at night, a woman can ask for a store security guard to escort her to her car.

The Fremont Police Crimes Against Persons Unit can be reached at 510-790-6900.

Article source: http://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/fremont-police-say-gold-chain-muggings-on-the-rise/article_49b3cae4-7fed-11e4-b20e-a355a2ba1501.html

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Fremont Police Say Gold Chain Muggings on the Rise

December 10, 2014 Posted by admin

FREMONT, Calif. – Indian American women living in Fremont, Calif., have increasingly become the targets of gold chain snatchers, with many of the assaults occurring as thieves brandish fire-arms, say local police.

Fremont Police Department spokeswoman Geneva Bosques told India-West that – in the past three months – 13 gold chain snatchings have been reported in the city’s downtown shopping area, while a few others have occurred in residential neighborhoods.

Two of the robberies occurred during home invasions. All targets have been Indian American women. Almost all of the robberies have occurred in broad daylight; in several incidents, the thieves have brandished weapons.

The chains have varied in value from $300 to as much as $3,000, said Bosques. “The suspects are aware of Indian cultural norms and know Indian women wear these heavy chains,” she said, noting that the necklaces are usually sold off after the theft as scrap gold.

A legitimate gold buyer – such as a pawn shop – is mandated to ask for government-issued identification from sellers However, informal buyers, such as “pop-up” shops, may not always require identification, making it easier for thieves to sell off their ill-gotten loot.

Two suspects were arrested late last month in connection with several of the assaults, which occurred in the Ardenwood area of Fremont. As an elderly woman was robbed, a witness spotted the license plate of the get-away car. Police matched the license plate to a rental car and found that car had been used in several other incidents. The suspects were arrested in the nearby town of Milpitas.

In three incidents last month, police reported a Nov. 10 chain-snatching in a residential neighborhood on Stevenson Blvd. The victim reported that a 5’10” bald African American man approached in her apartment complex parking lot that afternoon, then grabbed the gold chain off her neck and took off on foot.

A similar robbery occurred Nov. 11 on Liberty and Kearney Street, nearby to the popular Lake Elizabeth Park area; in that case, the suspect is of Hispanic or Middle Eastern origin, according to police. Two days later, another Indian American woman reported to police that a man in his mid-20s ripped her gold chain off her neck as she was walking near the Fremont Hub shopping area.

In one of the most terrifying incidents, two suspects – a male and a female – stalked a 70-year-old woman around the cavernous Walmart on Osgood Road. As she was preparing to leave with her family, she was grabbed from behind by the male. He dragged her for some time until he broke apart her chain, then fled off with the necklace into a get-away car driven by the female suspect.

The elderly woman was seriously injured and required hospitalization, according to police.

Police in the nearby city of Sunnyvale have also reported a rash of robberies, logging 15 chain-snatchings between May and September. Guns were brandished in two instances.

“It’s terrifying to have something ripped off your neck,” Bosques told India-West. “We don’t want our community to be victims, but it’s hard for us to say, ‘don’t wear your chains.’ It’s difficult for people to change their cultural or religious norms.” She advised women to wear their chains under their clothing when walking and to constantly be aware of their surroundings.

The Fremont Police Department released a bulletin last month, noting there has been an increasing in chain snatchings since October. In each case, the robbery has occurred in broad daylight; an unknown male suspect has approached a victim and forcibly ripped a high-value chain off her neck. Numerous witnesses have described the suspect or suspects as black male adults, between the age of 20-35 years old and tall with a “skinny” or “fit” build.

A significant number of resources have been devoted to finding the suspects, reported the police department, noting that one arrest was made Nov. 5.

The bulletin advised women not to carry large amounts of money or wear expensive jewelry when outdoors. Even if a necklace is concealed under clothing, it still may be possible for a suspect to see a shimmer on the neckline.

Police also advised women not to be distracted by their cell phones or head phones and to constantly be aware of who might be watching them from a vehicle, or “shoulder surfing” them at an ATM machine.

If uncomfortable walking to a parking lot from a retailer at night, a woman can ask for a store security guard to escort her to her car.

The Fremont Police Crimes Against Persons Unit can be reached at 510-790-6900.

Article source: http://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/fremont-police-say-gold-chain-muggings-on-the-rise/article_49b3cae4-7fed-11e4-b20e-a355a2ba1501.html

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