Orange County, California, authorities are warning of a new scheme used by thieves that has resulted in over 50 vehicles being stolen from Latino residents since last July.
Victims are lured into the scheme first by answering a wanted ad on Facebook that they can earn up to $5,000 by providing their car to transport money from one location to the next.
The victim picks up the cash, as directed, but when they deliver the cash, the thief steals their car under the pretext that it’s needed to pick up more cash at another location. The thief drives off with the car and the victim is left on the street waiting for their vehicle to return, which it never does.
“The criminals are creating opportunities to separate the unknowing victim from their vehicle,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ryan Anderson.
The crimes have happened throughout the county, and not in any one specific area, Anderson said.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement about the scheme that having a car stolen can really hurt families who may not have other transportation options.
“Many people have to rely on a single vehicle for transportation for their entire family to go to work and school, and having that vehicle stolen is devastating. We will not allow these predators to continue to target vulnerable victims just to make a quick buck,” Spitzer said.
Authorities are urging anyone who has been a victim of this crime to call OC Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227.