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California

Fowl play: Thieves use bird poop ruse to distract and pickpocket victims in Hollywood

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The Los Angeles Police Department issued an alert for suspects wanted in connection with pickpocketing thefts in Hollywood.
(Los Angeles Police Department)

An unexpected sprinkling of bird poop may be considered good luck in some cultures, but that wasn’t the case for two men who were intentionally splashed with the substance recently and then pickpocketed.

The excremental ruse was effective enough to prompt Los Angeles police to issue an alert Wednesday to Hollywood residents, advising them to be on the lookout for two people they think are responsible for the Aug. 27 thefts.

Although unpleasant, the trick is simple and plays to a person’s vulnerability and trust, police said.

The suspects — a man and woman — appeared to have tossed some type of substance on the victims as their backs were turned, LAPD Officer Cesar Corona said.

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The man and woman then walked up to the victims, he said, told them they had bird feces on their backs and offered to help wipe off the mess.

“While wiping them down, they distract them,” Corona said.

The diversion worked and unbeknownst to the victims, their belongings were gone, along with the suspects.

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“They were adamant,” Corona said. “It takes awhile to get the job done.”

The man and woman then were seen entering a vehicle with a getaway driver behind the wheel.

The thefts occurred within minutes of each other near Hollywood Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, he said. A large wallet and a camera were stolen.

Police don’t know whether the substance tossed on the victims was actual bird feces, Corona said, but whatever it was, it left a distinct mark.

The male suspect was described as Latino with black hair and brown eyes. He was 5 foot 6 to 5 foot 7, between 170 and 180 pounds and 35 to 40 years old.

The female suspect was Latina with black hair. She was 5 foot 3 to 5 foot 5, between 130 and 150 pounds and 35 to 40 years old.

The getaway vehicle was a 2015 to 2017 silver Nissan Rogue with paper plates.

Anyone with information is asked to call Corona at (213) 972-2939, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA


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