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ICE agent impersonators targeting Hispanics suspected in more cases


By KABC Web Staff

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ANAHEIM, California (KABC) — Investigators say two men in custody accused of pretending to be ICE agents to rob people are suspects in at least three other cases in Garden Grove.

Laurentiu Baceanu, 20, and Alexandru Vasile, 19, were charged with multiple hate crimes for posting as immigration agents and preying on individuals they believed to be undocumented immigrants, stealing cash and personal items by threatening them with deportation.

They have been charged with multiple felony counts of robbery and hate crime enhancements in Orange County, the Garden Grove Police Department said.

Investigators say the two suspects are Romanian nationals, believed to be in the U.S. illegally with ties to Romanian organized crime. They were arrested in Fullerton last week.

Detectives say they targeted and robbed Hispanic victims across several cities in Orange County including Anaheim, Tustin, and now, Garden Grove.

On June 8, a victim was approached by two men posing as police officers on Garden Grove Boulevard. The suspects convinced the victim to enter their vehicle where they stole his phone and wallet, which contained money. The victim was able to identify the suspects’ vehicle as a blue SUV.

On June 18, another victim reported an incident where he was approached by two men posing as immigration agents on Chapman Avenue. The suspects attempted to steal his debit card by threatening him with deportation. The victim managed to retrieve his card and the suspects fled in a blue SUV.

On June 20, police tracked down a blue Audi Q7 SUV following a series of robberies on the same day. The vehicle matched the description provided by victims in both Garden Grove incidents. The suspects’ method of operation, detailed descriptions, and the vehicle used in these crimes provided a strong connection to the Garden Grove cases, police said.

Garden Grove police detectives conducted victim interviews and collaborated with other law enforcement agencies, which led to the identification of Vasile and Baceanu as the suspects in the Garden Grove incidents.

The Garden Grove Police Department urges anyone who believes they may have been a victim of similar crimes to come forward.

If you have experienced incidents involving individuals posing as immigration agents, police officers, or other law enforcement personnel, please contact the Garden Grove Police Department at (714) 741-5704.

Article Topic Follows: California News

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