California Police Arrest Colombian ‘Burglary Tourists’ Twice in 2 Months

California Police Arrest Colombian ‘Burglary Tourists’ Twice in 2 Months

From left: Bryan Martinez Vargas, Jose Antonio Velasquez, Luis Carlos Moreno and Edison Arley Pinzon Fandino. (Glendale Police Department)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

5/24/2024

Updated: 5/27/2024

0

Police in Glendale, California, arrested Colombian burglary suspects May 20 nearly three weeks after they arrested them for the same crime, the police department announced.
Four suspects–Bryan Martinez Vargas, 28, Jose Antonio Velasquez, 28, Edison Arley Pinzon Fandino, 27, and Luis Carlos Moreno, 29—all in the U.S. from Colombia, were arrested at about 10:30 p.m. in Glendale.
Police suspect they are part of a crime scheme called “burglary tourism,” a growing trend in the United States.
The operation involves citizens of South America who enter the U.S. under the false guise of tourism and then target affluent neighborhoods to commit burglaries.
Glendale Police Chief Manny Cid said the repeat arrests show the discouraging challenges officers face in the suburb located about 10 miles north of Los Angeles.
“This arrest underscores the ongoing challenges our officers confront in safeguarding our community,” Mr. Cid said in a statement May 21. “While it is frustrating to apprehend the same suspect for a similar offense, it will not diminish our resolve to protect Glendale.”
According to police, a Glendale officer saw a car driving without headlights in the area of Emerald Isle and Kirkham drives Monday night.
The officer stopped the car and it was searched. Inside, police found a video surveillance camera with a battery pack charging system, which was camouflaged with leaves. According to police, they believe the equipment was placed in a nearby planter to record the comings and goings of homeowners.
The tactic allows burglars to peer into homes and learn when homeowners leave, according to the police department.
Officers also found a construction hard hat and a vest in the vehicle, which can be used by burglars to approach homes and avoid suspicion, police reported.
Several jewelry boxes were also found in the car, according to authorities.
The suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.
The arrests are just three weeks after Mr. Vargas and another suspect, William Guanume, 45, were arrested following a high-speed chase April 30.
During that incident, officers from a Glendale-Los Angeles burglary task force responded to a residential burglary in progress on the 4300 block of Boston Avenue, also in Glendale.
During the police chase, the suspects threw out stolen items from their vehicle, including a WiFi signal jammer used to disable home security systems, according to the Glendale Police Department.
Gangs of burglary tourists from South America are increasingly using U.S. temporary visas that don’t require background checks to fly into Los Angeles and rob mansions, then flee back to their home countries with valuables, the Los Angeles Police Department reported in March.
Ninety-four burglaries were attributed to residents of Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru, in just one part of the city in 2023, the LAPD reported.
Law enforcement officials say burglary tourism has also spread to Long Island and New Jersey and is considered an “enormous threat” to the U.S. by the FBI.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.