GARDEN GROVE ‑ The Garden Grove Police Department released the following bulletin on Dec. 15.

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Over the past six months, Garden Grove PD detectives have been investigating approximately 28 cases of robbery or distraction thefts, all sharing the same MO.

Suspects Floarea and Marius Ghiocel

The suspect(s) tend to target elderly Asians wearing expensive jewelry. They would approach their “target” and remove his/her jewelry, then replace it with a fake piece. These suspects are so slick and methodical in their approach that many victims did not realize their property had been stolen until hours later.

Using victim/witness statements, surveillance video and evidence left at the scenes, detectives were able to develop several leads and tie these robberies/thefts to organized groups that identify themselves as Romanian travelers. These groups will move throughout the states, committing similar crimes.

Yesterday, on Dec. 14, 2021 at 4 p.m., patrol officers stopped a vehicle on the 12500 block of Nutwood Street. The front seat passenger, identified as Floarea Ghiocel, had an active warrant for some of the above-mentioned cases and was taken into custody.

As Floarea Ghiocel was being transported to GGPD, the transporting officer noticed a suspicious vehicle following them closely. A vehicle stop was done on the car; and when the occupants were contacted, the driver was found to be Marius Ghiocel. He also had an active warrant and was taken into custody without incident. Both Floarea and Marius Ghiocel were later transported and booked at the Orange County Jail for robbery.

This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to contact Detective Franks at (714) 741-5836.

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