THOUSAND OAKS (CBS) — A man stands accused of stealing women’s hearts, and then their belongings. Police arrested the so-called “Boyfriend Bandit” after several of his past girlfriends came forward and said he stole their jewelry and other valuables.
One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told KCAL9 that her daughter dated the crooked Casanova, identified as David Benavidez, and thought he was very charming. She said he even lived with them for a short time while he was a student at Pierce College.
“I remember David being very pleasant, I thought it was really cool that he was in minor league baseball. He had a lot of aspirations to really make it,” she said.
The woman had no idea that the 24-year-old Thousand Oaks man was recently arrested for love fraud.
“I’m shocked. I’m really shocked, I really, really am. It’s just not the David that I remember, and it kind of saddens me because I know that he had a lot of aspirations to maybe be more, to do more with his life,” she said.
Benavidez is the oldest of two and very close with his family, the woman recalled. Police said he befriended several women in Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park, gaining their trust and living with them as a ruse to conduct criminal activity.
“This is a little unusual,” said Capt. Don Aguilar of the Thousand Oaks Police Department. “We talk about methods of operation of crimes and this one is unique in that it involves a gentleman preying on relationships with his girlfriends and stealing property from them.”
Detectives told KCAL9 that in addition to stealing valuables from the girlfriends and their families, the suspect was also involved in burglaries and property theft while the victims’ families were on vacation several months after the victims ended the relationship.
“The David that I knew was a charming young man, very polite, very polite to me, because he was always considerate and charming to her,” the woman said.
Benavidez was being held in Ventura County jail on $55,000 and his arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday.
Police believe there may be other victims who have not yet come forward and are asking that they do so.