CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — The Chula Vista Police Department is warning about a string of robberies and gold scams targeting victims in shopping mall parking lots.
Police say six separate robberies have happened at the Seafood City Supermarket in Chula Vista. The suspects target people ranging in age from their 50s to their 70s.
Chula Vista Police say the suspects are using several tactics. One of those tactics is telling the victims they're selling gold because they need money for food, or to get home, sometimes with young kids in the car. The gold turns out to be fake. Other times, they will offer the fake gold at a lower price in exchange for the victims' jewelry.
The third tactic is asking for help and then once the person goes over to the suspect's cars, they forcibly take the jewelry and take off.
Chris Altbum, a gemologist, and assistant manager at Coin Mart Jewelry says these scams are not new. His experience allows him to recognize fake jewelry, but he also uses tools like acid and an x-ray gun when it's not that obvious. He says it's common for people to come into the jewelry store to sell things, only to find out it is not real.
He says the best thing to do is not trust anyone selling or exchanging things in a parking lot.
Police think the suspects are all members of one family, responsible for crimes throughout the western region. they are working on identifying them.
If you've been a victim of these types of crimes, call Chula Vista Police at (619) 691-5151.