Chilean gang rob wealthy Atherton homes – CBS San Francisco

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ATHERTON (KPIX) – At least six burglaries of wealthy Atherton homes in January have been linked to Chilean gang members in a crime spree stretching from northern California to San Diego County.

“They are particularly targeting affluent communities like Atherton,” Atherton Police Chief Steven McCulley said.

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Chief McCully posted a warning to local residents on his agency’s website to be extra careful.

“Of the eight burglaries this month, we suspect six were committed by members of organized Chilean gangs operating in the Los Angeles area,” Chief McCully said. “Chilean gang robberies have been a problem throughout San Mateo County and across the country.”

McCulley said his department was working with both the FBI and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to track the organized burglary ring.

“They’re trained to come into the master bedroom,” McCulley said. “They’re looking for jewelry, high-end handbags, clothes, whatever they can close; and they are in and out literally in 10 minutes.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, a week ago approximately $50,000 worth of jewelry and other items were stolen from an Atherton home on the first block of Lilac Drive. A resident reported that someone broke a glass door at the back of his house and escaped with jewelry and other items.

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San Diego County Sheriff’s Detective Justin Cole told CBS 8 that gang members were responsible for various crimes in the city.

“Intelligence says they are mostly Chilean nationals, they come here on a tourist visa program,” Cole told the station. “They are involved in all types of crimes, not just residential burglaries. They pickpocket, break into vehicles, steal credit cards, anything they can do to make as much money as possible before they go home.

The group is known to authorities as the South American Theft Group. In Southern California, they have been linked to burglaries and other crimes in Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar and Chula Vista.

“It’s not just the same three or four people, it’s different groups,” McCulley said.

“If you have an interstate transport of stolen property, it’s a federal crime,” said retired assistant special agent Jeff Harp. “They (the FBI) ​​will look at the travel patterns of these people, they will work with DHS, ICE and customs and border officials to see where these people are crossing and find out if they can determine where these people are staying, these are their contacts here.

McCulley urges residents to keep valuables out of their master bedrooms and always make it look like someone is home.

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“A lot of people have high value items in their homes,” said Janice, who is an Atherton resident and did not want to release her last name for fear of the criminal network.

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