Cops: They Flashed Fake Badges, Then Robbed Victims

Vasile Alexandru, 19, and Laurentiu Baceanu, 20, faked being ICE agents in California's OC, cops say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2024 7:53 AM CDT
Police: 2 Men Pretended to Be ICE Agents in Robberies
In this March 12, 2008, photo, ICE agents patrol for undocumented immigrants in Spanish Fork, Utah.   (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

On Thursday, two back-to-back robberies in Orange County, California, captured law enforcement's attention for their similar MO: Two men in a blue SUV going up to their victims, claiming they were Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, then robbing them. Now, police in Anaheim say they've detained two men in the case, reports Patch. "Additional victims may exist," notes a release from the city of Anaheim regarding Vasile Alexandru, 19, and Laurentiu Baceanu, 20, who were arrested hours after those two robberies when the police tracked down their Audi Q7 SUV in Fullerton, per the Los Angeles Times.

Investigators say that Alexandru and Baceanu would go after Hispanic victims, speaking Spanish to them and flashing fake badges as they IDed themselves as officers of the law. Police believe the men may also have used a silver or gray Volkswagen Atlas SUV in their scheme. The Times notes that impersonating a federal agent can lead to up to three years behind bars if convicted, and that the men may also face other charges. Police believe the men may have been behind not only other robberies in Anaheim and Orange County, but also in the Western US in general.

Baceanu and Alexandru were arrested without incident (neither man was said to have been armed) and booked on multiple counts of robbery and other offenses without bail. Authorities are asking anyone with info about the recent robberies to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 855-TIP-OCCS, or to submit a tip on the Crime Stoppers site. Anaheim Sgt. Jon McClintock says that undocumented immigrants needn't fear coming forward with info. "We will not inquire about their [citizenship]," he tells the Times. "The Anaheim Police Department will not enforce any type of immigration [law]." (More ICE stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.