A convicted felon in California was arrested after he allegedly posed as a police detective to swindle a handyman out of thousands of dollars, authorities said.
In June, the victim reported the theft to the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the Downey Patriot reported.
The handyman, who speaks Spanish, told detectives he advertised on the website El Clasificado and took a job doing some work for Alejandro Martin, 56, at his Bellflower home.
Martin, the handyman claimed, told him he was an “L.A. police detective.” Martin then allegedly told the man he could sell him two hybrid vehicles that the police department had confiscated.
According to Sheriff Villanueva, the handyman agreed to pay Martin a $7,000 deposit via Zelle and an additional $7,000 once he received the vehicles.
Villanueva said Martin never delivered the vehciles and then refused to answer the handyman’s phone calls, except for on one occasion when he answered and allegedly told him “that he was a detective and if he didn’t’ want any problems, he should stay away.”
Sheriff detectives arrested Martin on Oct. 28. He faces charges of grand theft, and impersonating a peace officer.
According to officials, Martin was charged in 2014 with impersonating an officer, grand theft and being a felonin a possession of a firearm. The impersonation charges were eventually dropped, however.
Villanueva said detectives learned Martin allegedly stole over $100,000 in similar thefts from at least eight victims — all of whom are Hispanic, Spanish speakers and either handymen or construction workers — advertising their services on the El Clasificado site.