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Brazen thieves steal $18,000 Rolex from Elk Grove veteran

Cheryl Reyes-Santos says her father wants the suspects who stole his watch arrested so that what happened to him won't happen to anyone else.

ELK GROVE, Calif. — An Elk Grove senior and veteran is hoping there’ll be justice after crooks tore away a treasured Rolex from him last Thursday.

At the time, it was a normal afternoon for Jerry Reyes as he walked down the street in his quiet neighborhood to check the mail, but that changed when a couple driving by flagged him down and asked him for directions to a nearby Walmart. 

"He said it was like a white SUV or maybe like a crossover vehicle," said Cheryl Reyes-Santos, his daughter. "He said they looked more of an older couple, maybe in their 50s."

Reyes, a navy veteran who emigrated from the Philippines to the U.S., was wearing a new $18,000 Rolex watch that he bought a few weeks ago in Hawaii. It was a purchase that took years of hard work and meant a lot.

"That (older) generation — they save up for all their things, right? Things that they could not afford growing up, especially where he lived," Reyes-Santos said. 

However, after Reyes stopped to chat with the couple asking for directions, he says the male driver reached out through the passenger side window to shake his hand and thank him — but the female passenger suddenly grabbed his watch. 

Reyes-Santos believes the incident happened because her father is elderly. 

When her father tried to reach through the window to get his watch back, he says the couple sped off, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. 

"He said that she stuck it in really quickly and slipped it right off," Reyes-Santos said. "He said in a matter of less than five seconds — to have it taken away in a matter of seconds is devastating."

Thankfully, Reyes wasn't severely injured — but the loss of an item that he worked so hard to earn along with being the victim of thieves is hard for him to grapple with. 

"My message would be just to be aware of your surroundings," Reyes-Santos said. "If a car does approach you, get the make and model of the car."

Reyes-Santos says her father wants the suspects who stole his watch arrested so that what happened to him won't happen to anyone else. She says they've filed a police report with the Elk Grove Police Department and says her father describes the suspects as a couple in their 50's, possibly of middle-eastern descent. 

Another neighbor in the area says a similar experience happened to them with the same suspect descriptions. Anyone who has any information about the suspects can call the Elk Grove Police Department. 

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