Suspect Used Random Photos Of Children To Scam Money, Authorities Say
A man allegedly made up a story surrounding two found photographs, saying the girls pictured were his recently deceased nieces and that he needed donations to pay for a funeral, authorities said. The suspect convinced a market to set up a donation box, but when he came to pick up $437 people had put up for the funeral, sheriff's deputies were waiting with handcuffs.
The story unraveled this week when a woman went to the Palmdale grocery store, saw the box, and recognized the girls in the photo as her very-alive daughters, said Lt. Ken Wright of
the Palmdale Sheriff's Station. Desiree Ramirez reported the scam to the manager of the Vallarta Market, who then alerted deputies.
Market employees helped deputies arrange a sting: They called the suspect and told him to come get his money. When he arrived deputies arrested the man, identified as Saul Lopez of Palmdale, on suspicion of grand theft.
Sheriff's officials say Lopez allegedly placed a second box at the Mi Ranchito restaurant in Palmdale, too. Anyone who made donations was asked to call Detective Daniel Wolanski at 661-272-2442.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.
- Kabbalah Centre and Its Former Rabbi to the Stars to Pay $177,500 in Sexual Battery Suit
- Bicycle Is Returned to Child, but Alleged Bully Bike Thief Is Still On the Loose
- Thanksgiving Travelers Will Enjoy Lowest Gas Prices Since Early 2009