Men move over, the new crime bosses are women!

FRESNO, Calif.

It's certainly not new to see women criminals, but police say these days, women are learning from the big ring leaders. Then they're taking over and working to pass on their trade to other women.

The people who live off of Polk and Fairmont in Northwest Fresno are terrified, too scared of retaliation to go on camera. Police say Cecilia Diaz and Sylvia Ramirez were the ring leaders.

Tietjen said, "These two females in particular were stripping cars themselves and now we know they were mentored by one of the top three."

Investigators have noticed something -- lately, women have not only been part of the crimes they've been the boss. "As the male counterparts are going to jail, and have had so much pressure on them the females are rising up and taking that role."

Problem is, they blend in and they're unsuspecting. They work out of small garages and quickly move their operations to different neighborhoods to keep from getting caught.

"If you see a female with a purse walking through a parking lot-and you're not going to think twice you're thinking she's going to her car, while you see a male with a hood. In the citizen's mind you're thinking that's who your car thief's going to be."

Tietjen briefed Fresno Police commanders and detectives about the trend and says while they might be tricking the public their schemes aren't working on police.

"They're using that tactic to fool the public, to fool police officers, and we're seeing this and going after them just like we would the male counterparts."

The District Attorney's Office is also following up with these cases, the suspects are being prosecuted to the fullest extent.

If you've got any information about chop shops or car thieves, the Career Criminal Auto Theft team wants you to call 621-CCAT.

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