(KRON) — Two suspects were arrested in connection to a string of crimes allegedly perpetrated by a Romanian organized crime ring, the San Jose Police Department announced Friday. The suspects were identified as 35-year-old Mogos Constantin and 19-year-old Renaldo Vaduva.
The two were arrested after SJPD served multiple residential search permits Wednesday in the cities of San Jose and Livermore. The warrants were connected to around 25 criminal cases tied to Romanian organized crime, police said.
The cases in question took place between July and October and involved armed carjacking, armed robbery, strong arm robbery and grand theft.
In serving the search warrants, SJPD officers seized $13,000 in cash, three vehicles and evidence possibly related to jewelry swap scams/robberies, Facebook Marketplace vehicle scams, credit card skimmers and money laundering, police said.
There has been an increase in Romanian organized crime incidents in the City of San Jose, according to police. Suspects in these crimes typically target elderly members of the Asian and Indian community.
Suspects in these crimes usually speak English and Romanian and the woman tend to dress in “traditional” Romanian clothing, sometimes described as “Middle Eastern” or “Indian” in style. Suspects, police said, frequently approach elderly victims in their vehicles while they are outside on the sidewalk.
Usually there is a male driver and one or more female passengers. They make contact with victims by calling out to them to ask directions or pretending it is their birthday.
While engaging the victim in conversation, they will “thank” the victim by placing fake costume jewelry on them and either swap it out for real jewelry, or take the real jewelry by force, police said. Suspects are often seen driving new SUV rental vehicles.
Romanian organized crime in San Jose has also been linked to armed carjackings, armed robberies, burglaries, home invasions, strong arm robbery/chain snatch robbery, Facebook Marketplace vehicle scams, grand theft of jewelry and purses, organized retail theft, credit card/ATM cash-out fraud, and other types of theft and scams.
Members of Romanian organized crime also contact victims at their residences under the pretext of general contractor services, plumbing, paving, roofing and other business related transactions. Once suspects gain entry into the home, they use distraction tactics to take valuables, police said.