Detective Muris Lucarevic has built a reputation for his investigative work that often starts with nothing more than a hunch.
Sometimes, it is the tiniest tendril in a mound of paperwork that will turn a small case into a big one.
If you ask anyone at the La Habra Police Department about Detective Lucarevic’s work ethic, you will usually hear.
But if you ask him, he’s just a curious guy who likes to catch bad guys and sometimes those bad guys aren’t as obvious as one would think.
“I was a victim of a financial crime, someone emptied out my bank account and I couldn’t believe they had done it to me,” said Detective Lucarevic, who oversees La Habra Police Department’s fraud and cybercrimes. “So, I understand what these types of crimes can feel like to people and when we get cases, I exhaust every resource I can. I follow up on all leads because I don’t like to lose.”
One of Lucarevic’s specialties is financial fraud, which isn’t always the big-ticket crimes we see depicted on the movie screen. A lot of times the losses can be small, anywhere from $150 to $200, but that doesn’t mean it should get ignored and not investigated.
All crimes, big or small can unearth something, says Detective Lucarevic.
“I do a lot of follow up, especially with these victims where there is a smaller loss, because often it can reveal more and it can open up more doors to multiple crimes happening,” he said. “If you’re the bad guys and you steal someone’s mail and you wash someone’s personal check, that probably isn’t the first time you’ve done that.”
Detective Lucarevic began his career in law enforcement 7 years ago and was transferred into La Habra’s detective unit in July 2019. He has quickly proven himself to be straight to the point, caring and a pretty good detective.
“His desire is to catch the people who take advantage of others, and if he is lied to or someone is victimized, he makes sure every avenue is exhausted, he takes his cases to the next level to ensure he gives his all to the victims,” said Lt. Dan Henderson. “His intentions are always good, and he strives to provide excellent customer service, every day.”
As a detective working in financial frauds, Lucarevic has seen a few things during his time on the desk.
He shared some tips with us that people should think about before they send money to a non-profit, buy something online, rent an apartment sight unseen or pay for a bill they didn’t even know they had.
- Gift cards – Companies, government agencies and utility entities do not take gift cards in lieu of payment at any time.
- Credit Card and Bank Account Information – Don’t save your credit card or bank information on websites or cell phones. If your account gets compromised or your phone is hacked, your information will be available.
- Skimmers – When you go to the gas station, be cautious when swiping your card at the island machines, sometimes thieves will have attached a card reader. If you see it notify management.
- Government agencies – The IRS, Police and Sheriff Departments do not call and ask for money. Same with utility services such as light and water. Never give information out to these types of calls. Always call the agency/company directly and tell them about the call you received, this will let you know if the call was real or not.
- On Line Purchases – Be cautious with on line sales. Unless it is a reputable seller, Amazon or major store be careful. Especially for items on Craigslist, Offer Up and some apartment listings, do your homework and verify everything.
- Sending Money and Gift Cards – Don’t send money or gift cards to people you meet online or if you receive a message expressing an emergency from a family member or friend. Verify where your family member or friends are before replying to the message.
- Job Applications – When applying for jobs via websites, don’t give out your social security number and picture ID without knowing more about the company and verify if the contact is legitimate. Do your homework first.
- The Golden Rule – It if it sounds to good to be true? It probably is.
- It’s OK – Be paranoid and question emails and phone calls that are strange.
“Everybody out of their goodness of their heart will sometimes just want to help, especially during the holidays,” Detective Lucarevic said. “Criminals like to take advantage of people’s caring and emotional sides. Especially now during the holidays. So, just … be careful.”