Irvine Police Department Press Release

1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606



Kyle Oldoerp, Public Information Specialist

Two men were arrested for driving a vehicle stolen through a social media scam

Irvine, Calif. (March 21, 2024) – Two men are in custody after they attempted to drive a stolen vehicle into Mexico.

Yesterday afternoon, the Irvine Police Department responded to reports of a stolen vehicle near Michelson Drive and Royce Road. The victim answered a Facebook Marketplace advertisement offering money to transport cash to another location. They drove from Oxnard to meet the suspect in Irvine. When the suspect arrived, he told the victim he needed to borrow their car to pick up the cash. When the suspect did not return, they notified the police.

Based on countywide trends, Detectives anticipated the vehicle was possibly being driven to Mexico. Detectives contacted the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to alert them the vehicle was likely being driven to Mexico. CBP located the vehicle a short time later, approaching the San Ysidro entry point. The vehicle was stopped, and two men were detained. Irvine Police Detectives traveled to the border and took custody of Abel Cortes, 21, and Christopher Hernandez, 20. The men, who are residents of Tijuana, were booked at Orange County Jail for possessing a stolen vehicle.

These cases are not unique to Irvine and have been occurring around Southern California. All the victims were residents of other cities and were lured to Irvine. Most incidents appear to be targeting the Spanish-speaking community.

Here are some important tips:

  1. When answering job or task advertisements, do your homework and make sure the party seeking services is legitimate
  2. If you are a victim of this scam, do not delay in reporting the incident to the police
  3. Provide the police with accurate information so they can help you. These cases can be delayed when false information is provided to the police