3 Chilean Men Arrested in Irvine for Alleged Role in International Crime Ring

3 Chilean Men Arrested in Irvine for Alleged Role in International Crime Ring

Three Chilean burglary suspects were arrested in Irvine on March 22, 2024. (Irvine Police Department)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

3/25/2024

Updated: 3/25/2024

Three men from Chile were arrested by Irvine police March 23 for their alleged involvement in an international organized crime ring responsible for residential burglaries, authorities said.
On March 22, at about 6:50 p.m., officers conducting surveillance in the Turtle Rock and Shady Canyon neighborhoods in response to a series of residential burglaries noticed a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot, according to a statement from the Irvine Police Department.
An officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle as it drove away and discovered three adult males inside.
The driver was identified as Julio Cordova-Martinez, 55, and the passengers were identified as Ricardo Navarete-Loyola, 19, and Leopoldo Jara-Araya, 57, all Chilean nationals, police said
“The men were not from the area and appeared to have no reason to be in Irvine,” police said.
During the stop, officers found several items consistent with burglary tools in the vehicle, along with pet deterrent, shoe covers, gloves, and masks, police said.
“Based on the totality of circumstances, the trio appeared to be casing the area to commit residential burglaries and were arrested for conspiracy to commit burglary, providing false information to a police officer, and possession of burglary tools,” the statement said.
The three were booked into the Orange County Jail.
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation was asked to contact Detective Ryan Nigg at nigg@cityofirvine.org, or 949-724-7183.
“This arrest is just one example of the great police work happening daily in our city and should serve as a warning to anyone looking to victimize our residents, businesses, and visitors: Don’t commit crime in Irvine,” said Chief Michael Kent.
Recently, there has been an increase in “burglary tourists” flying from South America to commit home burglaries across Southern California.
The LAPD formed a task force this month to target groups of burglars from other countries who raid homes in upper-income areas, NBC News reported.
On March 16, the Irvine Police Department issued a warning to residents about a surge in home burglaries in the city. Between February 11 and March 16, there were 34 reported incidents in 35 days.
Similar crimes have also been reported in other parts of Orange County, and in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The thieves usually target affluent coastal neighborhoods and homes near trails, golf courses, and parks, which provide them with open space for easier access.
Police said thieves often disable or knock down security cameras. Some suspects have been found climbing to the second story of homes and entering through windows or doors.
The thieves typically ship the stolen items back to their home countries or sell them before returning to their home country.
To safeguard residences, Irvine police said, homeowners can install security film on all glass doors and windows, ensure doors and windows are always locked, use timers to vary lights and give the appearance that the home is occupied, put valuables in a safe, and document valuables by keeping records of serial numbers, receipts, and photos of the items.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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