South American burglary ring targeting Riverside homes, police say – Orange County Register


Riverside police are hunting for who they believe are members of a South American theft ring responsible for about 17 burglaries of homes in the Alessandro Heights, Hawarden Hills and Mission Grove neighborhoods.

The group has hit homes around the country and typically targets homes that are adjacent to a vacant lot, arroyo, park or greenbelt area, according to Riverside police and news reports of their activities.

The organization is believed to operate out of Chile, law enforcement officers told Vanity Fair in a February article. They enter the United States on 90-day tourist visas, steal millions of dollars in cash, jewelry and other items, fence property and return to Chile.

Recent reports also indicate they have repeatedly broken into homes in Huntington Harbour in Orange County.

The burglars typically work in groups of three to six people, Riverside police said in a news release this week.

The thieves enter through sliding-glass doors or even second-story balconies from backyards while someone acts as a lookout. The break-ins most often happen between 6 p.m. and midnight on the weekends when the residents are away. The burglars are known to watch a house in advance of the crime.

They have been described as wearing hats, hooded sweatshirts, face coverings or masks, gloves and backpacks and carrying flashlights. They often drive high-end cars, SUVs or minivans.

Riverside police Capt. Chris Wagner said the burglars are in a different group than those who committed home-invasion robberies in the same areas this year.

Police offered these tips to make your home less likely to be burglarized:

• Make your home look occupied when gone.• Lock all outside doors and windows, including property gates, before you leave or go to bed.• Consider installing a security system, and if you already have one, make sure alarms and cameras are working properly and not obstructed.• Do not share your plans to be away on social media.• Bolt safes to a steel or cement slab.• Get to know your neighbors and let them know when you will be away for an extended time.

Police ask anyone with information on the suspects to contact Detective Andy Cook at 951-353-7953 or [email protected], or Detective Christian Wilcox at 951-353-7952 or [email protected]

Information may be left anonymously via email at [email protected] or via the Riverside Police Department’s Atlas 1 mobile app by using the Send a Message feature.



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