Crimes with masked suspects on the rise amid COVID-19 pandemic

“They were wearing masks! How was I to know?” says the scared looking clerk at a Santa Ana liquor store robbed by two armed, masked men.

One actually picked up a drink and put cash on the counter before taking out a gun and being joined by the second suspect. They ran off with cigarettes and all the cash in his store. 

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Before COVID, if you were at the ATM and someone wearing a mask headed towards you, you’d be speed dialing 911, but now, just about everyone is wearing a mask. We react slower and the mask makes describing suspects much more difficult. 

The crooks know it, too. That’s why Santa Ana Police say robberies have gone up by as much as 50%. They compared April of this year to the same period in 2019. When May is over, they expect more of the same. 

Hopefully, someone will recognize the suspects from the surveillance videos of several incidents and call Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS. More importantly, be extra cautious, masks (and crafty criminals) will probably be around for a while.

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