Kaua‘i authorities arrested four men Tuesday, Aug. 2, in connection with selling counterfeit jewelry.
The four men arrested were:
- Mihail Drugan, 32, of Romania, who resides in Seattle.
- Daniel Calin, 24, of Romania, who resides in Seattle.
- Vasile Alexandru, 37, of Romania, who resides in Baltimore.
- Nicolae Dragomir, 29, of Romania, who resides in California.
The men were arrested on suspicion of second-degree theft, a Class C felony.
The Kaua‘i Police Department sent out a news release Tuesday, stating it has received reports of individuals approaching numerous people around the island, often in public places, and going to residences attempting to sell rare or antique jewelry.
According to preliminary investigations, the suspects were reportedly telling victims they were visitors and selling jewelry because they were in need of money for reasons such as they lost their wallets or their IDs were stolen. Victims later discovered the pieces they purchased were fake and reported the fraudulent activity to police.
A witness was able to identify the license plate of a vehicle allegedly involved in one of the reported scams. Police later located the car at a Kapaʻa hotel, and further investigations led officers to detain four men associated with the vehicle.
The department was not able to clarify if it’s in communication with authorities on the Big Island or any other municipality in the state in relation to similar incidents.
The men were brought into police custody without incident Tuesday. They were later released, pending investigation.
“In addition to these four men, preliminary investigations reveal that there may be more individuals on Kauaʻi that are committing these crimes,” Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce of the KPD Investigative Services Bureau said in a press release. “We are asking the public to stay alert and to please report any similar experiences you or someone you know may have encountered. If possible, try to take note of individual characteristics of the person, along with their behavior patterns and vehicles, as it may assist law enforcement in identifying, apprehending, and prosecuting suspects.”
The public is reminded to exercise caution if someone approaches them attempting to sell jewelry.
Kaua‘i police offered the following tips:
- Do not answer or return calls from unknown numbers.
- Be wary of suspicious payment methods.
- Use caution when responding to unsolicited calls or emails or unknown individuals on social network sites.
- Check your bank, credit card and phone statements regularly. If you see an unknown or unauthorized charge, immediately notify your bank or service provider.
- Senior citizens are popular targets for scam artists, as they tend to be more trusting of unknown individuals. Responsible family members should help keep them safe.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this jewelry scam or suspects suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kaua‘i police dispatch at 808-241-1711 or visit Crime Stoppers Kaua‘i Inc. by clicking here.