Members of the Hayward Police Department say they are actively tracking thieves who are targeting victims based on race. A spokesperson for the department said women of Filipino, Indian and Latino descent are the most highly targeted demographic. Police believe that this is due to a belief that women of these ethnic backgrounds tend to wear higher quality jewelry.
One woman was reportedly approached by a man who asked if she could spare a few coins. When she began to go through her purse he snatched a gold chain necklace she’d been wearing around her neck. He also ran off with the money in her purse.
Five of the seven suspected “chain nabbing bandits” have been apprehended, according to a department spokesperson. The men who have been arrested are all between the ages of 18 and 20. They are also believed to be connected to an Oakland-area gang. The men were booked into the Santa Rita Jail and charged with four robberies thus far. It is believed they may be connected to as many as 18 others. Bail information for the defendants was not immediately available.
Police warn that these thefts are not a nighttime only occurrence. Many of the thieves have struck in broad daylight. They also point out that an item could be stolen on one corner and then pawned at a shop several blocks away. Officers say they will be making attempts to crack down on pawn shop owners to ensure they are collecting the proper paperwork at the time items of value are being purchased.