‘Spiritual cleansing’ scam leading to burglaries in Mesa Spanish-speaking communities

Mesa Police say after gaining the trust of homeowners or renters, scammers will offer a "limpia" and ask people to bring out their prized possessions.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:10 PM MST|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 6:12 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Burglars in Mesa are using spiritual rituals as a guise to get into people’s homes to steal their cash and valuables. Detectives say these scams typically target Spanish-speaking families, preying on their faith and religion.

The scam begins with a ‘limpia,’ which in the Latino and Hispanic community is a ‘spiritual cleansing’ that removes negative energy and replaces it with good feelings and more money. “They’re just randomly picking houses but using information like ‘your neighbor down the street told me to come to see you; I know so, and so they told me to come to see you,’” said Det. Richard Encinas with Mesa Police.

After gaining the trust of homeowners or renters, Encinas says they offer a ‘limpia.’ But instead, these suspects are taking advantage of spiritual people and have gotten away with $8,000 worth of money and jewelry. “They know this, and that is why they target these people specifically with the whole intent of robbing them,” Encinas said.

Estafas dirigidas recientemente a la comunidad hispanohablante

Detectives say at least five families have fallen victim but believe there are more. Encinas says the suspects ask people to bring out their prized possessions wrapped in a shirt so they can bless them with more money. “One of the suspects will distract, and the other will then take all the money and valuables, conceal them and basically steal their stuff. They then tell the victim to wait an hour before unwrapping their garment. When the victim unwraps it, after that hour, they finally notice all their stuff is missing,” he said.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of this crime, please call the Mesa Police non-emergency line at 480-644-2211.