SAN CLEMENTE ( — Police said a brazen thief used his 12-year-old son to distract an elderly man while he stole $200,000 worth of jewelry from the victim’s San Clemente home.

86-year-old Lucky Capote told Orange County sheriff’s investigators that a man and a young boy followed him to his front door after a leisurely walk.

Capote said the suspect told him that his roof had a leak.

The alleged thief then climbed on top of the home with a ladder and said the roof was in poor condition and needed to be replaced.

The man’s son kept Capote busy inside the home, even massaging his arms and legs, while his father rummaged through the house for an hour.

“It was a regular, nice boy. He liked to talk to me about everything,” said Capote.

Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said, “This is the first case we’ve seen where the suspect was with a small child. Again, 12 to 14-year-old kid. The kid was trained in distraction. There’s no question.”

Officials said the suspect stole a box of the victim’s wife’s jewelry, including many family heirlooms.

Betty Capote, who was running errands at the time of the burglary, said her husband was devastated.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m getting old. I just am good for nothing anymore. I don’t know what I’m even doing alive.’ He was in bad shape,” she said.

The suspects were last seen in a white SUV.

Officials warned residents to be on alert for similar scams.


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