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Jewelry thieves targeting the elderly in western Washington

Bellevue police believe an organized crime ring is targeting the elderly by being overly friendly and getting away with jewelry.

MILL CREEK, Wash. — Mill Creek police say at least two elderly people have been targeted for their jewelry in the past two weeks and similar instances have been reported in Bellevue in Renton. 

The alleged crimes are unusual and appear to catch all the victims off guard.

Mark Horner encouraged his mother-in-law to call the police and report what happened.

“My mother-in-law is still processing and she’s a lovely woman and we’re glad that she’s OK and we think that she’s going to be a little bit, even more wary of people approaching her going forward, sadly,” Horner said.

Her necklace and ring were just two of the pieces taken by a group of people, including a child, who spotted her out walking and stopped to ask for directions to the nearest church on Monday.

Horner said the thieves hugged his mother-in-law, shook her hand and when they were gone so was her jewelry.

"The variations in the vehicles, slight variations in the descriptions of the suspects, different ages of the kids that were with them tell us that this was a group and it's an organized, well-rehearsed tactic,” Capital Joe Nault of the Bellevue Police Department told KING 5 earlier this month.

Bellevue police released footage from June of the thieves, possibly the same ones, at work. The department is calling this an organized crime ring they believe is operating up and down the West Coast. They believe the group is using rental cars and to date have hit Bellevue, Renton and Mill Creek.

“She’s shaken I think that she’s still misses - obviously - the things that were stolen because they have sentimental value but she’s not physically harmed and that’s a good thing,” Horner said.

Law enforcement is warning elderly people especially to be cautious of overly friendly people approaching them while walking.

“I think that more than anything the reason I’m speaking out and I have my mother-in-laws permission to do so is that we just want to help give the shout-out to the community to be on the lookout,” Horner continued.


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