Monday, October 15 , 2018, 1:32 pm | Fair 75º


Detectives Release Images of Suspected Con Artists

The victim, a Chinese student, had arrived in Santa Barbara just three hours earlier

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has released surveillance images of a couple that authorities say is suspected of stealing hundreds of dollars from a Chinese student who had arrived in Santa Barbara just hours earlier.

The 23-year-old student had planned to attend a three-month English as a Second Language class in Santa Barbara. He checked into a motel on upper State Street on Wednesday, Aug. 11 before walking to La Cumbre Plaza to purchase a cell phone, according to Sheriff’ Department spokesman Drew Sugars.

He said the student, who was at an Apple kiosk vending machine inside the Macy’s department store, was approached by a man who said he could help buy him a phone for less money. The victim gave the suspect $700.

The suspect, accompanied by a woman and a young girl, drove the victim to a cell phone store in the Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta, which was closed for the night.

The victim told police that the female suspect told him she could go in through a back door and pick up a cell phone. When the student told the couple he wanted the iPhone 4, he was told that it would be another $200, which he provided.

As the woman walked behind the building, the male suspect took the victim to a gas station on the 6800 block of Hollister Avenue.

The female suspect inside the Macy's department store
The female suspect inside the Macy’s department store. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

The suspect planned to purchase two sodas, but said he left his wallet in his car. He promised to return. After the victim had waited in the store for two hours, the store clerk called law enforcement.

The male suspect was described as 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with dark black hair.

Sheriff’s detectives have released surveillance images hoping that someone may recognize one or both suspects. The suspects are believed to have been driving a white four-door 2007 Ford Fusion or similar model vehicle.

Anyone with information about the suspected is asked to call sheriff’s detectives at 805.681.4150 or the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4171.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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