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4 members of the international “theft tourism” network are arrested in Glendale.

4 members of the international “theft tourism” network are arrested in Glendale.
4 members of the international “theft tourism” network are arrested in Glendale.


Police have arrested four members of an alleged international “tourism theft” ring following a traffic stop in Glendale on Monday.

The recording device and battery were recovered by police.

Glendale Police Department

The men, all four Colombian nationals, were arrested around 10:30 p.m. after police spotted a car being driven without its headlights on near the intersection of Emerald Isle Drive and Kirkham Drive, according to a statement from the Glendale Police Department.

After searching the car, officers found a “video surveillance device with a battery charging system camouflaged with leaves,” the statement said.

“This evidence, combined with the discovery of freshly disturbed dirt in a planter in the driveway, led Glendale detectives to believe that the suspects had strategically placed the camera in the planter,” the statement continued. “This method allowed them to create a sophisticated method of gaining a snapshot of housing and knowing when the homeowners were going to leave.”

They also found several jewelry boxes and a construction hat and vest, items traditionally used as a ruse to approach homes without arousing suspicion, police said.

Detectives identified the suspects as Jose Antonio Velasquez, 28, Edison Arley Pinzon Fandino, 27, Luis Carlos Moreno, 29, and Bryan Martinez-Vargas, 28.

Bryan Martinez-Vargas (left), Jose Antonio Velasquez (second from left), Edison Arley Pinzon Fandino (second from right) and Luis Carlos Moreno (right).

Glendale Police Department

In that case, officers responded to the 4300 block of Boston Avenue around 3:30 p.m. after receiving reports of a residential burglary in progress.

Responding officers saw Vargas and 45-year-old William Guanume leaving the area in a gray Toyota and began a pursuit.

“Fleeing from the officers, the suspects started throwing the evidence from their car,” the police statement said.

The chase eventually ended after the suspects exited Highway 134 at Figueroa Road and crashed into a hillside after failing to negotiate a curve. Both were arrested.

“Subsequent investigation revealed that the discarded items were indeed stolen from the targeted residence. Specifically, officers found a WiFi signal blocker, still turned on and functional,” the statement said. “Signal jamming devices allow individuals to illegally enter homes without detection. This technology disrupts home WiFi systems, cutting off traditional home security systems and cameras and rendering them ineffective at alerting owners of houses or law enforcement for the presence of intruders.”

Both Guanume and Vargas were being investigated for their alleged involvement in a so-called international criminal operation known as “stealth tourism,” which involves South American nationals entering the United States under the guise of tourism before target wealthy neighborhoods to commit thefts, police said. .

The evidence found in the arrests is similar to several reports from other cities in Southern California, including Chino Hills AND Temeculawhere covert recording equipment was located in the front yard of the houses.

Anyone with further information is asked to contact investigators at (818) 548-4911.




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