A shopper at a Palmdale grocery store was shocked to see a picture of her two daughters next to a sign and a collection box asking for donations to pay for their funerals
, prompting the arrest of a man who admitted to the scam, authorities said Wednesday.
Desiree Ramirez told the manager of Vallarta Market that her daughters were alive and well, said Lt. Ken Wright of the Palmdale Sheriff's Station.
The manager called the Palmdale Sheriff's Station and told deputies learned that a man who identified himself as Joel Perez had called the store with a tragic story about the death of his two nieces and asked to put up the box and photo and sign to raise money for the children's funeral.
Market employees arranged a time for the suspect to pick up the donations, which had grown to $437.
This resulted in the arrest of Saul Lopez
of Palmdale, who admitted to the scam.
Lopez told deputies he needed the money because of the bad economy and got the idea when he found pictures of the two girls on the street
A second box, which had been picked up earlier, was placed at Mi Ranchito restaurant