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Woman Steals $7,000 From Purse, Home, Bank Account

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An armed woman stole nearly $7,000 from a shopper who was on her way home from a Costa Mesa supermarket this week, taking money from her purse, ransacking her home and withdrawing funds from her bank account, police said.

Maria Casillas, 30, was unharmed during the Wednesday afternoon incident, authorities said.

Police said they have not heard reports of similar incidents in the area.

“It’s very rare for a female to pull a robbery on another female,” said Lt. Ron Smith of the Costa Mesa Police Department.

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Smith gave this account of what happened:

Casillas was on her way home with several bags of groceries at 12:45 p.m. when she was approached by a woman who said she had a gun and told Casillas to give up all her jewelry. Casillas, not wearing any jewelry, gave the suspect her purse instead. The robber then told her that they were going to Casillas’ home.

They walked to the apartment in the 2100 block of Charle Street, where the robber found about $3,000 worth of watches and jewelry. She also took $450 in rent money from a coat pocket.

When the robber saw a bank book on a table, she took a semiautomatic pistol from her purse and said she would use it if Casillas did not withdraw money from her account.

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The robber and Casillas then walked about a mile to a bank on West 19th Street, where the robber, pretending to be Casillas’ friend, told the teller that she was helping her to withdraw the money. The robber handed the teller the bank book, and the teller gave her $3,000 in cash.

The robber then walked with Casillas to the supermarket, told her to go home and fled on foot through the store parking lot.

Casillas’ husband called police after he arrived home from work at 2:30 p.m., Smith said.

Police said they have not made an arrest. They described the bandit as Latina, between 40 and 45, about 5-foot-3 and 170 pounds. She wears glasses, has a light complexion and shoulder-length dyed light-brown hair, officials said.

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Anyone with information about the incident should call Costa Mesa police at (714) 754-5206.


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