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Suspect arrested for elder abuse and theft by false pretense, other victims sought

BIG BEAR, Calif. (VVNG.com) — Detectives are seeking additional victims after a 34-year-old San Bernardino man was arrested for elder abuse and theft by false pretense.

Officials from the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station said between February 13, 2023, and February 18, 2023, several incidents occurred in the Big Bear area. 

The suspect, who was later identified as Leonard Zanfir, approached multiple victims claiming to need cash because of lost passports.

Leonard Zanfir, 34-year-old resident of San Bernardino
(Big Bear Station)

“Zanfir offered fake jewelry in exchange for $1,000 cash, after telling the victims the jewelry was valued at $2,000.  The jewelry received from Zanfir was found to be fake, with no monetary value,” stated sheriff’s officials.

One of the victims, who was elderly and in fear for their safety, complied with Zanfir’s request. After complying, Zanfir demanded an additional $1,000 cash from the elderly victim. The elderly victim, who was still in fear for their safety, complied with Zanfir’s demands.  

Investigators were able to identify two vehicles as being used during the thefts.

(Big Bear Station)

On February 24, 2023, investigators served a search warrant at Zanfir’s residence in the city of San Bernardino. As a result of the search warrant, investigators seized a large amount of currency, fake gold jewelry, and fake Rolex watches.  

Zanfir was booked into custody at the Central Detention Center for PC 532(a)-Theft by False Pretense and PC 368(d)(1)-Elder Abuse. He has posted bail and is no longer in-custody.  

(Big Bear Station)

A photo of the suspect is being released, as investigators believe there are additional victims and request public assistance for any additional incidents.

The suspect is known to frequent the cities of Big Bear Lake, Highland, San Bernardino, Redlands, Fontana, Chino Hills, Torrance, Grand Terrace, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Hesperia, and Palm Springs.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Big Bear Sheriff Station at (909) 866-0100. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME(27463) or you may leave information on the website at www.wetip.com  

Leonard Zanfir, 34-year-old resident of San Bernardino
(Big Bear Station)

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