Mom-and-son duo arrested for 28 robberies targeting elderly Asian Americans in Garden Grove

Garden Grove Robberies

A woman and her son accused of 28 robberies that targeted elderly Asians in Garden Grove, California, over the past six months were arrested on Tuesday, according to city police.

What they did: Floarea Ghiocel, 47, and her son Marius Ghiocel, 32, are allegedly part of an organized group of Romanian travelers involved in the thefts. After approaching their victim and taking their jewelry, they would replace the jewelry with seemingly identical imitation pieces, FOX 11 reported.

  • Some victims said it took hours before they noticed that their jewelry had been taken and replaced. A few of the cases were more violent, with the suspects becoming aggressive and forcibly tearing the jewelry off their victim’s bodies.
  • “These suspects are smooth and methodical in their approach,” Garden Grove police said. “These groups will move up and down the state, state to state, committing similar crimes.”

Garden Grove Robbery Suspects

Floarea Ghiocel (left) and Marius Ghiocel (right). Image via Garden Grove Police Department

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The arrests: Police arrested the Ghiocels on Tuesday on active warrants related to the robberies. However, they were released on bail the next day, as per the Orange County Register.

  • Patrol officers first stopped Floarea’s vehicle in the 12500 block of Nutwood Street and took her into custody. While she was being brought to the Orange County Jail, , the authorities noticed another car following, which turned out to be driven by Marius.
  • Marius, who had an active warrant as well, was also arrested. The mother-and-son duo were released on Wednesday — one day after being booked into the Orange County Jail.

The big picture: Elderly Asians have become frequent targets of robberies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Garden Grove arrests come around the same time San Jose police announced the capture of six men allegedly involved in a robbery spree that targeted Asian American women across the Bay Area between October 2020 and September 2021.

Garden Grove police continue to investigate the robberies. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Jim Franks at 714-741-5836.

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Featured Image via GardenGroveTV3

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