At least 20 burglaries have been committed in an upscale Huntington Beach neighborhood this year by a known South American gang, according to officials.
Arrests have been made in connection with the burglaries in the Huntington Harbour area and charges have been filed, said Jennifer Cary, a city spokesperson. She could not say how many arrests were made, but said that there are currently no suspects in custody.
In each instance, the group was typically comprised of a “carload of two to five people,” Cary said. Several of them would participate in the burglaries, while at least one remained in the car to serve as a getaway driver.
The burglars took cash and jewelry but there was no information on the value of the stolen items, Cary said. KTLA-TV reported that the stolen goods were worth “millions of dollars.”
Police would only say that the burglaries were the work of a “known theft” group and that the crimes followed the same pattern. The suspects rent vehicles that blend into the affluent neighborhood, with the burglaries usually occurring Wednesday through Sunday, between 7 and 11 p.m., while residents are away.
The suspects typically break into homes through rear entry points or through second-floor windows or doors, Cary said. Police believe they are a small group of burglars and not part of a larger organized criminal ring.
Authorities have increased patrols in the community.
“We’ve increased our presence, both marked and unmarked,” Cary said. Police are also working to educate and inform the public about what steps they can take to safeguard their homes.
Residents are advised to keep their doors and windows locked, and leave their exterior lights on at night, Cary said. Authorities also suggest that they not announce on social media when they might be away from home.