‘Sophisticated Criminal Groups’ Roaming The Desert, Ready To Attack…You

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Palm Desert Station, would like to inform local residents of recent crime trends and to be extra diligent for their safety.

The area has experienced a recent uptick in a variety of sophisticated criminal groups victimizing the public.

Some of those recent incidents include:

Crimes associated with subjects approaching the public in parking lots and attempting to engage them in conversations about their jewelry and other valuables, resulting in theft.

Scams where the subject will tell members of the public that their money is not safe and to bring large sums of cash to them so they can help secure it.

Incidents where subjects identify themselves as local law enforcement and request money for various reasons (Law Enforcement will never approach anyone and ask for money).

We realize many families are experiencing financial hardship lately; therefore, find the need to sell items to make ends meet. During some of these transactions, victims have been robbed at gunpoint for the items and/or money. While not all of these transactions end in a criminal act, please consider utilizing a well-populated area for these transactions, like a store parking lot or even the Sheriff’s Department parking lot for your safety.

Many of these criminals are foreign nationals and believed to be associated with organized crime and are potentially dangerous.

Please be aware of your surroundings and notify law enforcement immediately if you think someone is engaged in any type of criminal activity.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office has a zero-tolerance policy for these offenses. If you suspect illegal activity in your area, please contact the Coachella Valley Dispatch Center at 760–836–3215 or dial 911 in the event of an emergency.


Burglar wearing a mask, wielding a crowbar, ready to break into a house.

Photo from Alpha Media Portland OR