Chain snatcher plagues elderly residents of Oakland Park

OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man who, they said, will approach unsuspecting people, greet them and then snatch their gold chains in mere seconds.

“Just plain and simple, he’s a freaking scum bag,” said Scott Shrewsbury, as he was shown a sketch of the person said to be roaming around the community stealing gold chains.

BSO said the subject is behind at least two robberies in Oakland Park, which took place over the last three weeks.

Victims gave similar descriptions and the M.O. is the same: approaching elderly people in front of their homes and snatching gold chains off their necks.

“The suspect appears to be targeting elderly people who he can easily overpower, victims that can’t really defend themselves,” said BSO Detective David Agusti.

Evangelina Cavada described how the subject targeted her husband, 52-year-old Victor Asencio, by posing as a man under the guise of searching for a lost dog. He robbed her husband when she went inside to find materials to write down the man’s contact information if she found the dog.

“As soon as I went in, and then I hear, all of a sudden, I hear him scream, ‘he grabbed my chain!’ but it happened so fast — really fast,” Cavada said.

“The guy take all my chains,” said Asencio.

He was washing his dogs on his porch when the thief robbed him, Dec. 10.

Asked what went through his head, Asencio told 7News, “Safety for my wife and family. Scared for my family, not for me, but my family.”

Asencio said he tried to follow the man in his car down Northeast Third Avenue, but it was too late.

Asencio also mentioned that he is thinking about buying a gun.

“Why do it to me and the old lady?” he said. “We work hard for this stuff and somebody come like that, in your house.”

BSO said a 67-year-old woman was robbed a week before, less than a mile away at her home, on Northeast 57th Court and Sixth Avenue. He approached her as she was putting away her water hose, grabbed the chain off her neck and knocked her to the ground.

“It’s crazy, man,” Shrewsbury said. “That’s the first time in this neighborhood it’s ever happened, that I know of.”

Investigators are now turning to the public for help in finding the thief. “I remember his face, and I see, I look at him now, and it’s like, it comes to me again — that day.”

The subject is described as standing about 5 feet 8 inches, muscular build, short cropped hair and in both robberies, wearing a white V-neck shirt.

If you have any information on his identity, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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