May 26, 2024

USA: 4 Colombian Nationals Arrested In Glendale, California Are Part Of 'Burglary Tourism' Ring. Also 6 From Chile Here Illegally Arrested In Arizona Tied To South American Theft Gang.


FOX 11 Los Angeles published May 22, 2024: 4 Colombian nationals arrested in Glendale, part of 'burglary tourism' ring, police say. Police in Glendale have arrested four Colombian nationals believed to be part of an international burglary ring. Police say "burglary tourism" is a growing issue in the area.

Fox11 News, Los Angeles local
4 Colombian nationals arrested in Glendale for alleged 'burglary tourism'
written by Staff
Wednesday May 22, 2024

GLENDALE, Calif. - Police in Glendale arrested four Colombian nationals this week in connection with what they said was a "burglary tourism" ring, including one person who was arrested just weeks ago after a high-speed police chase.

Bryan Martinez Vargas, 28, Jose Antonio Velasquez, 28, Edison Arley Pinzon Fandino, 27, and Luis Carlos Moreno, 29, were arrested Monday night for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Around 10:30 p.m. that night, Glendale police said they saw Vargas driving out of a cul-de-sac without the lights on. Officers searched the car, and found a video camera connected to a portable battery pack, disguised with leaves.

After investigating in the cul-de-sac, officers also found freshly disturbed dirt in a planter outside of one of the homes, leading officers to believe that Vargas and the others had set up the camera in the planter, to observe when people were leaving their homes. In addition to the camera, officers found a hard hat and vest — which they said could be used as a ruse to approach homes — and jewelry boxes.

The four men were arrested. But for Vargas, this was the second time in just three weeks that Glendale police arrested him. The last time was on April 30. Officers responded to a burglary in progress, and Vargas and another suspect drove off. When the chase ended, Vargas and the other suspect, according to police, tossed stolen items and a WiFi signal jammer, which police said they used to disrupt home security systems.

Glendale Police Chief Manny Cid called Vargas' second recent arrest this week "frustrating," and that it "underscores the ongoing challenges our officers confront in safeguarding our community."

Glendale officials said the four arrested this week were part of a "burglary tourism" operation, which the department said is "where thieves from South America enter the U.S. under the guise of tourism and target affluent neighborhoods for burglaries."

Last year, Orange County officials urged the country of Chile to crack down on so-called "burglary tourists" from abusing Chilean visas which, because of an agreement with the U.S., don't require criminal background checks. Chile is the only South American country that's part of the program. But the four arrested Monday are Colombian nationals, not Chilean nationals.

FOX 10 Phoenix published March 12, 2024: Scottsdale home invasion suspects reportedly tied to South American Theft Gang. Scottsdale Police say three people have been arrested in connection to a series of home burglaries targeting upscale neighborhoods. The suspects are reportedly tied to a nationwide South American Theft Gang from Chile here illegally.
FOX 10 Phoenix pubilshed Feb 20, 2024: Theft ring hits high-end homes in the Phoenix area. An international theft ring has been hitting high-end homes around the Phoenix area and three people have just been arrested. All 3 from Chile and here illegally. The group has been accused of stealing $3 million in money jewelry and other items in total. FOX 10's Marissa Sarbak has more.

Fox10 News, Phoenix local
South American Theft Group: More charges announced in Valley burglaries
written by Brent Corrado
Wednesday March 20, 2024

PHOENIX - Several Phoenix area burglary suspects who are believed to be connected to a South American Theft Group are facing new charges, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said.

Three of the suspects, Grecia Romanduski Gaete Castillo, Sebastian Jesus Parraguez Soto, and a juvenile, are accused of conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglary tools in connection to Scottsdale thefts. The juvenile is also accused of false reporting to law enforcement.

"Since November of 2023, Scottsdale has been aware of more than 100 similar types of burglaries," MCAO said. "One defendant admitted to being in the U.S. on a tourist visa and had already been a part of burglaries in California, Nevada, and Arizona."

Three other suspects, David Carlos Rojas Ferrada, Johan Bastian Salvo Alacon, and Sue Ellen Patricia Gutierrez Saez, are accused of multiple burglary charges related to Phoenix thefts. Gutierrez Saez is also accused of seven additional burglary charges.

"The South American Theft Groups are made up of people who travel from South America specifically to target homes and families in the U.S.," MCAO said. "The federal government’s tourist visa program allows them to fly into the United States without a background check. Once they’ve entered our county, they immediately obtain fake I.D. They travel to cities across the nation – including in Maricopa County – and steal millions in untraceable items."

***EVEN IN UPSCALE Greenwich, Connecticut*** 
FOX 5 New York published April 27, 2023: Warning about 'tourism burglars'. Police in Greenwich, Connecticut are warning about 'tourism burglars.' FOX 5 NY's Richard Giacovas has the story.

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