Police: Group of ‘gypsies’ con elderly in Hialeah

HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - Police are warning residents about a traveling crime ring who targeted elderly victims at their homes in Hialeah.

According to Hialeah Police, this past Saturday, three robbery suspects targeted elderly victims at homes along East Eighth Lane, West 36th Street and West 66th Street, between 4 and 6 p.m.

A surveillance camera captured a vehicle involved in one of the crimes. Police said the bandits went about their attacks by knocking on the victim’s door pretending to be old acquaintances. Once the victim is confused or perplexed, they barge into the victim’s home, stealing whatever they can easily grab.

“It’s an old scam,” explained Hialeah Police Sgt. Carl Zogby. “They knock on the door of an elderly person, they make them believe that they must know them from years ago. They confuse this person, and within moments, they’ve been robbed. They just run into your house to see if they can find a wallet, a purse. That’s what they take, quick cash or jewelry that you may have lying around, and they’re in and out in a couple of minutes.”

The two victims were 91-year-old Antonio Gonzalez and his wife, who were robbed of over $600 in cash.

One of the three suspects, 37-year-old Ricky Mitchell, is described by a police as a “gypsy thief” and has an extensive and violent criminal background in multiple states.

Police were able to identify Mitchell after his fingerprints were detected at the homes where the burglaries took place. A surveillance camera also captured Mitchell as he drove down a nearby street in a white, four door Chevy truck.

The other two suspects, one man and one woman, have yet to be identified.

They are considered dangerous and are a part of a traveling gypsy crime ring, which, according to police, is very common in Florida this time of year. The group is historically known for committing these types of distraction crimes, as well as other violent crimes.

Hialeah Police hope to spread awareness of their crimes so that the public remains vigilant at all times. “A lot of these crimes start with just people forgetting the basic rules of safety,” Zogby said. “Don’t open your door to strangers.”

If you have any information on these crooks, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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