Oxnard : Pair Promise Gold, Take Rent Money

A 41-year-old Oxnard woman lost her rent money Saturday to two con artists who promised to sell her some bars of gold, police said.

Elisea Loera was at Smart & Final grocery store on Oxnard Boulevard when she was approached by a woman who claimed she was from Honduras and needed money to go to Fresno, Oxnard Police Lt. Bob Kelley said. The woman told Loera she had three gold bars and needed to sell them, Kelley said.

The con artist then flagged down a man who turned out to be her partner and told him the same story. The two asked Loera if she had any money, and she told them that she only had her husband's $1,250 paycheck, Kelley said.

"It was really sad. It was all her rent money and all her bill money for the month," Kelley said.

Loera and the man decided to buy the gold bars, and Loera took the pair to her bank, where she cashed her husband's check. Loera's money was put in an envelope, which was held by the woman, Kelley said.

The man gave the woman an envelope that supposedly contained cash plus his gold watch, several gold chains and gold rings, Kelley said.

The man then left, saying he would sell the gold bars and return later to give her the money in exchange for his property and cash. The other con artist then told Loera that she had some business to take care of and needed to leave for about five minutes. The woman gave Loera the envelope that supposedly contained the man's money to show that she was not trying to con Loera, Kelley said. She then left with Loera's money, and neither she nor the man was seen again, Kelley said.

After discovering that the envelope she was holding contained only cut paper, Loera called the police. The con artists spoke to Loera in her native Spanish, Kelley said. "These kind of folks prey on people who only speak Spanish. They're really hard to catch because they move around a lot. People need to call us before they give their money away."

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