Thieves posing as NYC tourists swipe 87-year-old's necklace

NEW YORK (AP) — Thieves posing as New York City tourists drove up to an 87-year-old man and swiped his necklace, swapping it for one made of fake gold, police said Thursday.

The snatch-and-switch happened June 16 near Cunningham Park in Queens. The thieves claimed to be travelers from Dubai and engaged the man in conversation to draw him closer to their vehicle, police said.

Surveillance video made public Thursday showed the man standing close to the vehicle and the driver reaching for the man’s necklace, unclasping it and at one point removing a hat from the man’s head.

The driver then placed a fake gold necklace, much cheaper than the original, on the man’s neck before driving off, police said. They described the vehicle as a white Jeep Grand Cherokee with a covered rear plate.

A similar incident happened Sunday on Staten Island. There, thieves in the same type of vehicle pulled up to an 81-year-old woman at a bus stop, engaged her in conversation to draw her closer and removed her jewelry once she was within reach, police said.

No arrests have been made. Police say they’re investigating the thefts as grand larcenies, indicating that the stolen necklace and jewelry were worth more than $1,000.