Criminals from South America who enter the United States as tourists have been connected to a sophisticated crime ring targeting wealthy Asian American and Middle Eastern Families.
The Washington Post reports the suspects netted about $2 million in stolen items from high-end homes in DC suburbs.
The same ring is also believed to be involved in similar operations in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Texas, the Daily Mail reported.
“They represent an enormous threat right now in our country,’ Dan Heath of the FBI said. ‘They are tending to thread the needle in avoiding both state and federal prosecution.’
Sources from the FBI say the criminals take advantage of low or no bail laws which allow them to continue their crimes even after being caught. These crimes often fall below the radar of law enforcement which tends to focus on violent offenses
According to the Washington Post, the criminals get into the country using visa laws meant to encourage tourism from countries like Columbia and Chile.
They have become known as “criminal tourists.”
In the home of one South Asian family in Great Falls, Virginia, burglars broke through the glass door in the rear of the home and made off with gold jewelry and large safe worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s a pattern authorities in the area have seen over and over again.
This same ring may be responsible for a series of similar burglaries in New York and New Jersey.
Investigators believe Asian Americans and Middle Easterners are targeted because the thieves believe they often have expensive jewelry in the home.
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