WINNETKA (CBSLA.com) — Police need your help identifying a man accused of pulling the race card to rob at least two mobile phone stores in Winnetka and Oxnard.
The man entered the Boost Mobile store on Vanowen Street near Corbin Avenue around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
He asked a clerk to show him two new iPhones. When the employee refused and directed him to look at the tethered display models instead, the man accused her of being racist.
Ashley Cardenas works with the employee, who was duped by the thief.
“He tried to pull the racist card on her like: Oh, did you put them away because of my skin color? And then she was like no, it’s not even that; I’m not even supposed to have them out,” Cardenas told CBS2’s Rachel Kim.
Cardenas’ co-worker didn’t want to be seen as a racist. She handed over the two new phones to the man, who took off with merchandise.
“When that just happened, she just stood there in shock not knowing what to do,” Cardenas recalled.
The Los Angeles Police Department said the suspect used the same tactic to steal iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S8 phones from a store in Oxnard two hours later.
Police said security video from inside the Oxnard store showed the man asking to see some new phones.
When the employee handed him two brand new ones in their boxes, he looked at them for a while and went back and forth with the employee. When he got both in his hands, he took off running.
Anyone with information about the thefts was urged to contact Det. Abbinanti at (818) 756-5848.
You can also leave anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.