SAN DIEGO – New images obtained by FOX 5 News shows two thieves involved in an elaborate burglary spree in San Diego County.
San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division confirmed a group has been targeting houses in La Jolla, Rancho Peñasquitos and other neighbors in the area.
Authorities confirmed Monday that there has been more activity from a South American or Chilean theft ring that has carried out burglaries in La Jolla since 2021. There have been seven confirmed burglaries related to the ring as of this year.
“This is a South American gang with people who are coming in on a Visa Waiver Program, and if one gets caught, they simply replace that person with another person,” explained Catharine Douglass, who is the La Jolla Town Council Public Safety Chair and also on the Captains Advisory Board with SDPD.
It’s all too familiar for one La Jolla resident who asked to hide her identity for safety reasons. A similar break-in happened to her back in 2021.
“I came back home, and I was so shocked because I had my window broken, and they had taken everything from my closet out,” she said.
Police say they typically run in groups of three to four and are “highly organized,” typically targeting homes through the second story entrance or window to target both master bedrooms and safes within the hours of 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“They’re so fast they can get valuables out of a bolted down safe in about ten minutes. They’re after your watch, jewelry, cash and high-end handbags,” Douglass said.
Police confirmed these culprits will crawl along floors to avoid motion sensors and go as far as using pepper spray on family pets.
It’s not just La Jolla, in Ranch Penasquitos and Miramar Ranch, it’s the same story. Surveillance video released by SDPD shows thieves arriving in a dark Audi, who then proceed to smash down the sliding glass doors of a home.
“They’re going to hit the easiest target, if you’re the easiest target you’re going to get hit at some point,” Douglass said.