Teens Arrested for Posing as ICE Officials to Rob Hispanic Victims

Two California men, one of them a teenager, were arrested in late June for allegedly robbing Hispanic residents in Anaheim while posing as ICE agents.

According to a press release from the Anaheim Police Department, Laurentiu Baceanu and Vasile Alexandru were arrested on multiple robbery charges and were being held without bond.

Police initially said that both men were 19 years old. However, Orange County jail records confirm that Baceanu is 20.

Anaheim police responded to two robberies on Thursday, June 20 in which the victims reported being robbed by two men who flashed phony badges and told them in Spanish to hand over their valuables. The men then fled in a blue SUV.

Officers tracked down the SUV in Fullerton several hours later and took the two men into custody.

Impersonating federal law enforcement is a federal offense with a sentence of up to three years in prison.

According to Anaheim Police Sgt. Jon McClintock, there have been reports of criminals posing as ICE agents in multiple jurisdictions in the state.

Sgt. McClintock said Anaheim was coordinating with other police departments that are investigating similar incidents over the last several weeks to determine if the robberies were connected.

McClintock said there were at least five other robberies in Anaheim and Orange County, and detectives were looking into whether the two suspects arrested could be working with others.

Illegal aliens are believed to be easy targets because they are much less likely to report the crime to police. Posing as immigration officers is a common rouse the perpetrators use.

Last year, a San Ysidro man was arrested for stealing over $200,000 from migrants who were seeking help with their legal status. The man posed as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer.

In May 2018, a Santa Ana man received an eight-month stint in federal prison after pleading guilty to extorting $5,000 from a woman under a deportation order while posing as an ICE official.