SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A manhunt was underway for a smooth-talking thief who has pulled off expensive cons in Orange County, the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County, police said.
From the moment David Vasquez walked into Downtown Jewelry & Loan on 4th Street in Santa Ana, his every move was captured on security cameras.
Police said he was so brazen, he didn’t even try to hide his identity.
His face and tattoos could be seen clearly on camera. He even gave the clerk his real name and his fingerprint.
Security video showed Vasquez handed a clerk a genuine Rolex watch he wanted to pawn. The clerk checked the serial number and verified it was real.
But the clerk did not know that Vasquez stole the watch out of San Dimas, according to police.
“He’s been around the block. He’s very slick in the way he does it. He does the exchange literally in front of the employee,” said Det. Alfredo Castro of the Santa Ana Police Department.
The detective described how Vasquez got away with a $3,500 heist without the clerk ever noticing.
“On his left hand, he has a flyer. You can see a piece of paper. He’s hiding the fake watch there. He grabs a real watch out of the plastic bag because he doesn’t want to use his left hand. He’s just using his right hand. He grabs the real watch – the true Rolex that he brought. So now, he’s looking at it trying to talk this guy into: ‘I don’t know if I should. Not a good price,'” Det. Castro described the scam that was caught on surveillance video. “He moves the flyer to the right hand, covers the watch. And all of a sudden, look at his left hand. Boom! The watch appears. Now, he has the watch in his left hand. Look how easy that was.”
Then Vasquez nonchalantly placed the real Rolex in his pocket.
The clerk handed him cash, and he walked out of the store.
Vasquez lives in Ontario but is now on the run with at least three warrants out for his arrest.
If you have seen him, call Santa Ana police.