SANTA MONICA—Police are looking for two suspects wanted for elder abuse and robbery.
On November 26, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) posted a bulletin asking the public to help find two suspects that work together to trick the elderly into letting them into their homes and then steal valuables from them.
Police released descriptions of the two suspects, including a fuzzy photo of the female suspect. The suspect is believed to be of Hispanic or gypsy origin and be between the ages of 25 to 30 years old, stand 5 feet tall and weigh 160 pounds. The female suspect wears her dark hair in a ponytail and could possibly be pregnant.
The suspect’s accomplice is an unknown Hispanic or gypsy male also with dark hair and between the ages of 25 and 30. The male suspect is estimated to be 5-foot-10 and weigh 175 pounds.
Canyon News spoke with Detective D’Andrea who said the incident occurred on October 13 when the elderly female victim was walking by herself down Santa Monica pier. when the female suspect approached her. The female suspect approached the victim and said, “I sense such a positive energy from you, but I sense something bad will happen to you in the next two months.” The suspect introduced herself as a sort of fortune teller/medium under the pseudonym of “Paula Dentine.”
This sparked a conversation between the two, and they talked about the victim’s singing talents and how the “Paula Dentine” suspect could put her in touch with a bunch of LA producers she knew. The supposed fortune teller/medium also told the victim she had received a message from her great grandma saying something bad is going to happen and that the suspect needed to come over to her house and “bless” the victim and the victim’s house.
Detective D’Andrea stated the two then exchanged telephone numbers and the elderly victim gave the suspect her address. The next day on October 14, the “Paula Dentine” suspect reportedly left the victim three voicemails saying, “Good news about the singing, I have an LA producer that want to talk to you” and that she wanted to come over to her house and “dispel the evil around you.”
The female suspect then showed up at the victim’s house with the male suspect that she introduced as her brother “Bob.” The three then sat in her home and talked, in which suspect “Bob” asked repeatedly to use the bathroom, “which sounds to me like he was scouting the location,” Detective D’Andrea said.
After about an hour of conversation, the elderly female victim announced she needed to go to the bank to withdrawal money for the next day. Suddenly, “Bob” said he did not feel well and asked to stay at her place while the two women went to the bank. According to Detective D’Andrea, at first the victim said “no,” but the male suspect apparently made the elderly woman “feel so guilty that she agreed to let him stay back at home.”
“Paula Dentine” and the victim then went to the bank where the neighboring company’s surveillance cameras were able to capture the photo of the female suspect walking on the sidewalk.
Upon return to the victim’s home, the victim recalled “Paula” rushing to ring the doorbell first and suspect “Bob” taking a suspiciously long amount of time to come open the door, for which he said he had mistakenly fallen asleep. The two suspects then quickly insisted that they needed to go, but the victim reminded the female suspect she had not yet blessed her home. “By then it was dark outside, and the two said they could only bless it during daylight,” Detective D’Andrea stated.
The next day, the elderly woman discovered her jewelry box from her dressing room was missing. The box contained many valuables, such as her wedding ring from her late husband and a bracelet of charms she had collected from all around the world.
Detective D’Andrea is most concerned the two burglars may have been able to get a hold of the victim’s personal information while inside the residence, such as tax statements, social security checks and the deceased husband’s information.
Detective D’Andrea said he has seen “a huge influx over the past few months” of financial cases involving elder abuse. Although identity theft cases are skyrocketing in general, the detective said elderly people are more vulnerable to identity theft because they did not grow up in a generation where identity theft was possible. The older members of the population are therefore less likely to guard their personal information as closely and more quick to share it with others.
Sergeant Moroso of the SMPD told the Canyon News the department would be releasing information regarding elder abuse and identity theft in the coming days that would provide tips on how to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
If you have any information regarding this case, please contact: Detective D’Andrea at (310) 458-2201 ext: 6679 firstname.lastname@example.org, Sergeant Henry Ramirez (310) 458-8453 or the SMPD Watch Commander (24 hours a day) (310) 458-8427.