South American Heist Ring Targets US Homes

( – Organized criminal rings are abusing and taking advantage of the U.S.’ visa waiver program and are sending organized burglary teams to the country who have victimized countless homes in wealthy and upscale neighborhoods all across the U.S.

According to Scottsdale, Arizona Police Chief Jeff Walther, “hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands” of thieves, the majority of whom hail from South America, are entering the U.S. through the visa waiver program and are burgling homes in “dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of cities and neighborhoods” in the country.

Walther also added that the problem is not limited to areas in Scottsdale, but is instead a “national problem.” His statement is backed up by reports from law enforcement from communities in California, Baltimore, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Nassau County in New York who have arrested burglary suspects who are often Chilean and are in the country through the visa waiver program.

Chief Walther says that while not every Chilean who enters the country is a criminal, he said that the federal government needs to face some hard truths and address the issues on how the visa waiver program is being abused by criminal enterprises.

The LAPD says that while burglaries into upscale neighborhoods are not a new, the incidents tied to crews whose members are essentially imported into the U.S. through the visa waiver program are “way, way up.”

One victim from an upscale neighborhood in California reported losing as much as $8 million worth of valuables to such a break in, with the thieves even managing to steal items locked behind a large safe. The thieves are practiced and professional, with police even arresting some who are using ghillie suits, a camouflage outfit used by military operators.

Efforts by law enforcement and prosecutors to serve justice to these criminals are hampered by the non-cooperation from their home countries such as Chile, which refuses to send the criminal backgrounds of its citizens that are arrested. With no criminal background, the judge is forced to release the suspect on bail, essentially allowing the suspect to escape.

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