Thieves targets seniors’ jewelry in Naperville shopping centers

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – Naperville police are warning about expensive jewelry being taken right off senior citizens in several shopping center parking lots.

CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar had the details behind this unique scam that is a first, even for seasoned investigators.

Surveillance video starts innocently enough with two women on walkers enjoying some fresh Southern California air last summer.

But then, a car pulls up and the rust begins.

The woman in the white offers a necklace. It’s fake and inexpensive. As she goes to clasp it around the 84-year-old’s neck, she swaps the dupe for a real piece of jewelry.

Naperville police say the same distraction scam is happening in the western suburb.

De Mar: “It’s a distraction to get close to get around their wrists?”

cmd. Michaus Williams: “That’s exactly what it is, a distraction to get them talking with one person while the other person is putting stuff on them and distracting them from what’s actually happening.”

A man and a woman have robbed at least three seniors of expensive jewelry at grocery store parking lots, most recently at the Naperville Fresh Market on 75th Street.

“Our victims have lost probably a total of about $10,000 worth of jewelry,” Williams, of the Naperville Police Department, said. “We are working with other municipalities and towns that may have experienced similar instances to see if they are all connected.”

“They usually like to go to wealthy neighborhoods, like Naperville, and they know they can get expensive things from people,” said Beth Santos, a Woodridge resident shopping at a local store.

The duo hit an Hmart over the weekend. Williams said he’s never seen a riot like this one, where the victims don’t realize they’ve been robbed until it’s too late.

“The ruse thefts and the burglary thefts are something new,” he said. “We’re not saying be unfriendly but keep your personal space. Be mindful. Don’t get distracted.”

“You really can’t trust anyone you don’t know,” Santos said.

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