LAKEWOOD (CNS) – Authorities Tuesday urged people to contact them if they were victimized by a man who impersonated being a law enforcement officer while targeting primarily Spanish-speaking victims and swindling them.
Martin Alejandro, 56, was arrested Oct. 27 by personnel from the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
According to the sheriff’s department, Alejandro would target people — often handymen or construction workers — who placed ads in “El Clasificado,” an online and in-print classified marketplace company.
“The suspect would use these advertisements to initiate contact with the victims,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a Tuesday morning news conference at the Lakewood Station.
“El Clasificado is the largest Spanish-language classified marketplace in the United States,” Villanueva said. “Oftentimes, Spanish speakers are victims of crime and theft and they do not report incidents.
“We’re here to remind everyone that the mission of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is to protect all county residents, regardless of immigration status,” Villanueva said. “Many members of the community may not be in the country legally, but they still have rights.”
According to detectives, the suspect would meet with victims and sometimes show them a badge. Authorities said Alejandro victimized at least eight people since June of this year, with some of the crimes involving the sale of vehicles.
Alejandro was arrested for similar crimes in 2014 and 2019, officials said. Villanueva urged people to come forward if they were victimized by Alejandro and call detectives at 562-925-0124.