Two Thieves Taken Into Custody After Posing As ICE Officials

( — Police in Anaheim, California, arrested two men who were allegedly posing as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to rob Hispanic residents.

According to a June 24 news release, officers responded to two robbery reports between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 20. Victims told the officers that two men speaking Spanish flashed fake badges and coerced them to hand over their property before fleeing the scene in a blue SUV.

Several hours later, detectives tracked down the SUV in Fullerton and arrested two suspects, later identified as 19-year-old Vasile Alexandru and 20-year-old Laurentiu Baceanu. The two men were booked into the Anaheim Detention Facility on multiple robbery charges and other offenses and were being held without bail.

Impersonating federal agents can carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

Criminals frequently target illegal aliens, believing that they are less likely to report the crimes to law enforcement. It is not uncommon for these criminals to pose as immigration officers.

In May 2023, a San Ysidro man stole more than $200,000 from illegal aliens seeking assistance with their legal status by posing as an ICE agent.

A Santa Ana man was sentenced to eight months in federal prison in May 2018 after pleading guilty to impersonating an ICE official to extort $5,000 from a woman facing a deportation order.

Anaheim Police Sgt. Jon McClintock said multiple California jurisdictions are dealing with phony ICE agents and Anaheim Police were coordinating with other law enforcement agencies in the state to investigate similar robberies that have occurred over several weeks. McClintock said it was likely the robberies were all connected.

According to Sgt. McClintock, there were at least five similar thefts in Anaheim and even more throughout Orange County. Investigators were looking into whether Alexandru and Baceanu were working with other accomplices.

McClintock urged other victims to contact the police and reminded them that the Anaheim Police Department does not ask people about their immigration status when they report a crime.

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