Michigan's Wealthy Beware! Secretive Chilean Burglary Gangs Targeting Upscale Homes AGAIN

By Maria Angelino | Wednesday, 03 April 2024 01:45 AM
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Oakland County, Michigan, bordering the northwestern part of Detroit, is reportedly under the threat of highly skilled and organized burglary gangs from Chile, warns Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

The county has recently seen a surge in break-ins that bear a striking resemblance to a series of burglaries that occurred last fall. "The M.O. is super, super, super, super similar," Bouchard stated.

The alleged burglars, according to security footage, operate in groups, specifically targeting large, upscale homes that are often secluded from the public eye. They utilize social media to determine when homeowners are likely to be away. "A lot of people post a selfie [that says,] 'On my way to Florida for two weeks,'" Bouchard noted.

Once assured of an empty house, the burglars launch a complex operation involving backpacks, ski masks, and even the disabling of alarm systems. Bouchard described them as looking like "ninjas," fully masked, gloved, and equipped with a specific set of tools for their illicit activities.

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Their well-orchestrated operations have enabled them to make off with cash and luxury items, including jewelry and designer handbags. In one instance, the culprits made away with over $800,000 in cash and valuables.

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This pattern is not new to Bouchard and his deputies. A few months prior, three suspects, all Chilean nationals, were arrested in Indiana on charges of committing similar burglaries in southeastern Michigan. Concurrently, Bouchard's office apprehended seven other Chilean nationals on suspicion of robbery.

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Bouchard estimates that around 100 teams, each consisting of four to six Chileans, are operating across the United States, executing similar home invasions and making off with millions. He suggested that these gang members likely entered the country through the Visa Waiver Program, which, according to a State Department website, "enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa." Chile is listed among the "participating countries."

Bouchard urged Washington to suspend the Visa Waiver Program for Chile. "That doesn't mean they can't visit, but they just have to get a regular visa, which comes with a little more scrutiny," he said.

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