3 Sought in Kidnapping, Theft Crime Ring: Crime Stoppers

A North County woman was kidnapped and robbed by two men who claimed they needed help to find a local immigration office. At the end of the two hour kidnapping, the men got away with hundreds of dollars cash.

Now, San Diego County Crime Stoppers needs the public’s help to find the suspects who investigators believe have done this before. Among their other victims is one woman who lost her life savings.

Investigators are looking for three men who may be using a dark colored minivan, possibly a Toyota Sienna.

A woman, 73, told law enforcement authorities that she was approached by two men while shopping inside the Walmart on Vista Way on Wednesday, August 24.

The men convinced her to drive them to a nearby immigration building after one of the men told her he was not from San Diego but was from Costa Rica. The men spoke Spanish and got into the woman's car.

NBC 7 spoke to the victim's daughter on Tuesday, who only wanted to identifed as Ms. Garcia.

“At first it was the sob story. 'Could you help us?' Once they were in the car , my mom still felt like she wanted to help them out,” Ms. Garcia said.

Once in the car, the men told her they had a winning lottery ticket, according to investigators. The men said they needed her help to collect the money and promised her $40,000 in exchange.

The woman grew suspicious.

Then, one of the men took the woman's phone.

“She was just focused in doing whatever they said because she was scared. She was just scared,” Ms. Garcia said.

When the men demanded she withdraw $1,800 from her bank, she was frightened but went along with it, investigators said.

“They just kept telling her , remember you have a family. Remember you have a family,” her daughter said.

Eventually, she dropped them off in downtown Oceanside with $1,800 from her bank account.

“This is their social security, there social security money that was saved up for two or three months,” her daughter told NBC 7.

Investigators said the dark-colored van was following the woman's car during the incident.

Now, investigators hope to hear from anyone who recognizes the men or who may have had a similar experience but did not file a police report.

They've released photographs of three suspects. One of the suspects is pictured in two separate images.

Police confirmed that there have been three to four similar elder abuse cases around the county reported this summer.

Anyone with information can call the Oceanside Police Department’s Crimes of Violence Unit at (760) 435-4572 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.

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