Police in New Castle County, Delaware, are warning against “South American theft groups” (SATG) that allegedly target Asian American homes in a trend that has now been reported in multiple states.
What SATGS are: SATGs, also known as South American “crime tourists,” are highly organized criminal enterprises that travel from state to state to commit burglaries, police said in a news release. They are known to steal cash, jewelry, watches, gold bars and designer merchandise from the homes of their victims, who are reported to be Asian Americans.
How SATGs operate: The groups allegedly utilize radios, disguises, lookouts and surveillance to swiftly execute their plans. Afterward, they ship the stolen items back to their home countries or sell them before they leave the U.S., according to police.
One Wilmington home has purportedly been targeted twice. Joshua Huang said his family was at their restaurant, Hong Hing, when burglars broke into their property to steal items worth thousands of dollars.
“It’s pretty frustrating to get robbed again,” Huang told Fox Philadelphia of Saturday’s break-in. “It makes me wish that this time we could actually catch them, so that we could get our money back.”
What police are doing: New Castle police said they have responded to multiple burglaries of similar nature so far this year. In partnership with agencies from multiple states, they have also made arrests, apprehending nationals from countries such as Chile and Colombia.
Four burglary suspects are currently being sought. They are identified as Miguel A Gutierrez-Diaz, Juan Camillo Cuervo-Martinez, Benjamin Andres Ovalle-Taibo and Jonathan Andres Vejar-Caro.
How to stay safe: Homeowners are urged to take several precautions to protect themselves and their properties from criminals.
A comprehensive home security system that includes burglar alarms, motion sensors and security cameras is encouraged. Security bars, door locks, window locks, glass reinforcements and light timers are also advised.
Subject to discussion with their homeowners’ association, automated license plate readers may also be installed at the entrances and exits of neighborhoods.
Expensive items may also be listed with their serial numbers.
“It just makes it easier to track stolen property if we have specific information we’re looking for,” Cpl. Michael McNasby said, as per CBS News.
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