By CBSLA Staff

Costa Mesa (CBSLA) — In Orange County, detectives are investigating many other robberies that are occurring in store parking lots as well as follow-home robberies where suspects ambush seniors as they enter their neighborhood. 

“They will follow them and make any attempt they can to speak to them, touch them, shake their hand, grab their arm — any means necessary— and sometimes it ends being forceful as well,” said Huntington Beach Police officer Jennifer Carey.

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This tactic allows the suspects to slyly steal jewelry, watches or other items.

“It was shocking to me that I’d been robbed,” said one victim who only wanted to be identified by her first name, Pam. “I didn’t even know that I was robbed. That’s how slick they are.” 

Pam added a couple distracted her by asking for direction while she worked in her garden. 

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“I was so upset I didn’t even realize it was gone,” she said. “I started to scream and cry.

Officers are also investigating a robbery where at least three robbers and maybe as many as five shouted orders at diners on the patio at Seasons 52 restaurant at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa Monday night. 

According to police, they were wearing masks, black clothes and hoodies and told everyone to get down. One suspect was possibly armed with a handgun. 

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Police recommend people to keep their distance when approached by strangers.