Chilean ‘tourists' connected to crime spree in Southern California, police say
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (FOX 11) - Hundreds of break-ins are being blamed on international thieves from Chile who obtain temporary visas as part of a trend of "burglary tourism" in Southern California.
Jonathan Garay, 29, Kevin Castillo, 22, and Eduardo Queralto, 22, were arrested last week on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy, according to the Simi Valley Police Department. The three were in the United States on temporary visas from Chile, authorities said.
Investigators believe that the three are part of a larger operation in which international thieves obtain visa waivers to enter the U.S. Authorities said that the temporary visas make it difficult for authorities to track down the thieves.
Police said that for months, burglars have targetted homes, vehicles and businesses in Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
During the car break-ins, police said the suspects used an electronic jamming device which would disrupt the signal from the victim's remote key fob, preventing the car from being locked by remote. That's when the suspects would move in, stealing the contents of the vehicle.