Crime Log: Fake gold bar costs woman $1,200 in cash

This 2-inch bar cost a woman $1,200. Photo courtesy of Los Alamitos Police

Two men duped a woman into buying fake gold for $1,200 on Thursday, Jan. 6.

“It is unfortunate that people are victimized in this manner. Hopefully, this information will prevent someone else from being targeted,” said Los Alamitos Police Capt. Bruce McAlpine.

This is the police account of the crime:

The victim, whose name has not been released, was shopping at the Vons on Los Alamitos Boulevard when she was approached by a man who was described as Hispanic. It was Thursday, Jan. 6.

He said he was lost. He also said he needed to sell three bars of gold to pay his son’s medical bills. He said the gold bars were each worth $12,000.

According to the victim, he was 45-50 years old between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches. He weighed about 200 pounds and had a heavy build. He had hazel eyes, short brown hair, a mustache and a light complexion.

The con man told the woman the hospital would stop treating his child unless he paid $27,000 immediately.

He told the woman that he was looking for a dentist who he heard was willing to buy gold.

While they were talking, a second man joined the conversation. He, too, was described as Hispanic.

This second man was described as 55-6- years old, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed about 175 pounds and had a medium build.

He had brown eyes, short black hair and a mustache. He reportedly had a darker complexion than the first man.

Suspect #2, as the police call him, offered to take the gold bars to a dentist in the shopping center to verify the bars as real gold.

He left the woman and Suspect #1. When he returned, Suspect #2 said the dentist—who the woman never saw—not only confirmed the bars were genuine gold, but bought the gold for $12,000 cash.

According to the Los Alamitos Police Department, Suspect #2 produced an envelope that supposedly contained the money and gave it to Suspect #1.

Suspect #2 told the woman that he believed the gold was real, then told Suspect #1 that he would buy another gold bar for $1,700.

After the three of them talked, the woman agreed to buy the third gold bar for $1,200.

The actual sales transaction took place in her home, according to a press release issued by Capt. McAlpine. The woman then took the “gold” bar to a jewelry store. There, she was told the “gold” was actually brass—and worthless.

Suspect #1 was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, a blue-gray plaid flannel shirt and khaki pants.

Suspect #2 was seen wearing blue jeans, a white button-down sweater over a white shirt and a gold-colored Kangol hat.

Surveillance photos of the suspects are available at Click on the link for the cash for gold scam story.

Seal Beach officer takes drug lab training

Last week, the Seal Beach Police Department announced that Officer David Sasenbach will take a two-week hazardous materials course.  When he has finished, he will be “certified to work in and around clandestine drug labs,” the announcement said.

SB Police volunteers receive  President’s Volunteer Service Award

Seal Beach Volunteers In Policing recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, according to the Seal Beach Police Department’s Facebook page. The award was issued by the Corporation for National & Community Services.

The announcement, posted on the Web site Thursday, Jan. 13, said a CNCS representative “presented Presidential Service Pins to many of the VIPS present.”

Crime Log Assembled by Charles M. Kelly

The crimes listed in the Sun Newspapers were reported to Seal Beach Police Department, Los Alamitos Police Department and Orange County Sheriff Department between Jan. 3, 2010 and  Jan. 14, 2011. Only street names are used; times given are reported times, not incident times. Crime Log entries are based on preliminary information. Space limitations make it impossible to publish every incident. Until proven guilty in a court of law, all suspects are considered innocent.


Monday, January 3

Transient Reported—5:52 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—A woman described by the caller as a transient was in front of the store with a child, asking passersby for money.

Police were unable to locate the woman.

Tuesday, January 4

Counseling—9:09 a.m.—Main Street—A citizen received what the citizen described as harassing phone calls from a man claiming to be a police officer in another community. Counseled.

Illegal Peddler—1:10 p.m.—Westminster Avenue—A woman with two babies was sitting near the front doors of the location, asking people for money. She was advised about illegal peddling and told police she would comply.

Grand Theft Report—4:20 p.m.—Pelorus Avenue—The caller said he had a party and someone apparently took his wife’s wedding ring, valued at $3,500.

Wednesday, January 5

Forgery—3:13 p.m.—Elder Avenue—The caller said his bank had advised him he was the victim of forgery. Report taken.

Thursday, January 6

Identity Theft—10:28 a.m.—B Row—A Surfside resident walked into Seal Beach Police headquarters to report that the resident’s Social Security Number had been used to open several accounts.

Friday, January 7

Open Car Trunk—12:50 a.m.—Central Avenue and 6th Street—Police unit 217 observed a vehicle with an open trunk. The officer closed the trunk and advised the mother of the registered owner that if anything was missing, the registered owner can contact the police.

Stray Animal—9:29 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway and First Street—The caller reported a dog, a German shepherd mix, running up and down the street. Referred to Long Beach Animal Care Services.

Burglary Report—3:08 p.m.—North Gate Road (formerly Beverly Manor Road)—House keeping staff noticed that a floor buffer and a floor carpet extractor were no longer present. Unknown when the theft occurred. The lost items were collectively valued at $7,000.

Saturday, January 8

Disturbance, Music—9:04 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller complained about the live band in a garage located directly behind the caller’s residence. Police unit 217 advised the musicians to discontinue the noise and they said they would comply.


Monday, January 10

Counseling—11:08 a.m.—Orangewood Avenue—The caller said a teacher in the preschool play area found a marijuana device. The caller requested extra patrols throughout the night for the near future.

Tuesday, January 11

Suspicious Circumstances—1:55 p.m.—Katella Avenue—A man was seen pulling a woman into a van after a fight. Officers spoke with the couple and arrested the man for outstanding warrants.

Wednesday, January 12

Missing Adult—10:40 a.m.—Howard Avenue—An elderly man was ill and the caller was unable to contact him. All the man’s belongings were at his residence. The elderly man was later found at a neighbor’s residence.

Thursday, January 13

Petty Theft—4:01 p.m.—Katella Avenue—A shopping cart full of diapers was removed from the store, but left in the parking lot. An individual was counseled, but store management did not want to prosecute.

Friday, January 14

Counseling—7:11 p.m.—Howard Avenue—A woman was taking her dog for a walk when a neighbor’s pit bull came to the door and wouldn’t leave. The neighbor came to get her dog. Both dog owners were counseled.

Saturday, January 15

Patrol Check—9:48 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard—Three men were loitering in the location and the caller was afraid because they saw her leave. Officers spoke to the men, who were asked to leave.

Sunday, January 16

Welfare Check—11:24 a.m.—Kaylor Street—The caller said a man fell off a curb. The man got up, but appeared very woozy. The man was taken to a hospital.


Monday, January 10

Fraud Report—8:50 a.m.—Copa D’ Oro Drive.

Burglary Report—3:33 p.m.—Copa D’ Oro Drive.

Disturbance, Family Dispute—10:18 p.m.—Copa D’ Oro Drive.

Tuesday, January 11

Disturbance, Auto Involved—3:39 a.m.—Montecito Road.

Welfare Check—6:34 a.m.—Martha Ann Drive.

Identity Theft—12:01 p.m.—Foster Road.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—1:21 p.m.—Montecito Road and Kempton Drive.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—6:03 p.m.—Kensington Road.

Wednesday, January 12

Disturbance, Auto Involved—2:02 p.m.—Loch Lomond Road.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—3:02 p.m.—Walker Lee Drive.

Annoying Phone Call—7:30 p.m.—Bostonian Drive.

Thursday, January 13

Disturbance, Auto Involved—1:38 a.m.—Montecito Road.

Citizen Assist—10:44 a.m.—Bostonian Drive and Montecito Road.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—11:48 p.m.—Tucker Lane.

Friday, January 14

Stolen Vehicle—7:26 p.m.—Rossmoor Center Way and Seal Beach Boulevard.

Disturbance, Family Dispute—8:24 p.m.—Montecito Road.


Monday, January 10

Identity Theft—12:40 p.m.—Pacific Avenue.

Tuesday, January 11

Welfare Check—8:47 p.m.—Pacific Avenue.

Thursday, January 13

Investigate Person Down—11:21 p.m.—S. Pacific Avenue and 23rd Street.

Brian Smith of the News-Enterprise contributed to this article.