San Francisco police are warning the public about a scam where suspects use fake gold jewelry pieces to swindle victims of their own jewelry.

Police officials said suspects approach victims in public areas and either attempt to sell them fake jewelry or steal the victim’s jewelry using sleight of hand tricks.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay San Francisco police released a photo on Monday, December 23, 2019, of the fake jewelry used by suspects to swindle jewelry of victims.

Suspects usually place the fake jewelry on a victim’s hand, neck or wrists, and while the victim watches suspects leave in an awaiting vehicle, as they realize their jewelry has been stolen.

Officials believe Mamfred Oinescu, 44, is one of two suspects involved in recent scams. Police said Oinescu has an arrest warrant out for similar crimes.

Police say 20 of these incidents have been reported this year, with a total loss of $55,000. Officials said the suspects have been primarily Asian in the Sunset and Richmond districts.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay San Francisco police released a photo of Mamfred Oinescu on Monday, December 23, 2019, who is suspected of scamming victims of their jewelry.

San Francisco police are working with other agencies to identify suspects and warn the public that the scam is not isolated to The City, but is a problem across the Bay Area.

Police are asking people to file a police report if they believe they have been scammed.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay and covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Follow Jerold on Twitter @jerold_chinn. Email tips to jerold@sfbay.ca.

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