Mother-daughter duo sought in jewelry heist at Watsonville store

WATSONVILLE, CA. – Authorities in Santa Cruz County are searching for a mother-daughter duo suspected in a large jewelry heist at a store in Watsonville that was captured on camera.

According to Watsonville Police, 53-year-old Onita Rostas and 30-year-old Steluta Lacatus are wanted in the theft, which took place at a store on September 11, 2023.

The suspects claimed to be from Spain and were interested in purchasing gifts for their family. Using distraction techniques, they were able to steal jewelry worth a significant amount of monetary value.

Police have released video of the theft. “We want to warn our community to be vigilant for these types of tactics used to victimize businesses,” police said Thursday.

A judge in Santa Cruz County has issued arrest warrants for Rostas and Lacatus. Police said the pair are wanted by multiple agencies, including the FBI, Secret Service, and Interpol due to their connection to organized crime.

Click here to view footage of the crime and read the source of this posting. If you have any information regarding the subjects from this crime, please contact the Jewelers’ Security Alliance at or 212-687-0328.

Pictures of wanted suspects

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