FRESNO -- The Madera County Sheriff's Department is warning people about a confidence man who has robbed several families of thousands of dollars worth of property while promising them careers in Alaska.
Instead of accompanying the family to the state as promised, the man abandons them and takes their possessions.
On Jan. 14, three people said they responded to an ad in Vida en el Valle, a Spanish-language weekly newspaper published by The Bee. They met the man outside the Wal-Mart store in Sanger. The man later abandoned them in Madera.
A Madera County family answered the same ad Friday. They were picked up outside a Wal-Mart in Madera and abandoned in Sacramento. The man took the family's personal belongings and $2,000 cash.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart said the man drives a mid-'90s Chevrolet Astro van with California license plate 4LMS386. The contact name in the newspaper ad is Fernando Torres.
Stuart said there are two suspects, both described as Latino males. One serves as a driver and the other poses as someone who responded to the ad.
The driver, Cesar Alaniz (or Alanis), is in his late 20s to early 30s and has a mustache and goatee. The second suspect has not identified himself to any of the victims; he is in his early 20s and has a thin mustache and an unusually large head.
The ad published one time (Dec. 23) in Vida en el Valle.
Anyone who responded to the ad can call the Madera County Sheriff's Department at 559-675-7770 or 800-560-4911.