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New Castle County Police Department warns residents of South American Theft Groups in the area

New Castle County Police Department

New Castle County Police are alerting residents about a nationwide trend of residential burglaries that’s showing up locally, carried out by South American Theft Groups.

New Castle County Police say these South American Theft Groups are highly organized criminal enterprises that travel from state to state committing burglaries and thefts.

Police say they target expensive homes and homes owned by Asian Americans - stealing things like jewelry, designer merchandise and cash. They utilize radios, disguises, lookouts, and surveillance to case out potential homes in neighborhoods.

“They’ll do a couple of burglaries - and before any authorities catch on to it - they’re usually moving to a different state or a different county, basically going all around the coast, around the country doing these burglaries," McNasby says. "Once they successfully have these burglaries conducted, we’re finding that they’re either shipping the stolen property back home to their country of origin or they’re going to other larger cities like New York or Philadelphia and pawning or selling the stolen merchandise.”

That’s New Castle County Police Corporal Michael McNasby, who adds they have responded to around a dozen burglaries of this nature already, and while detectives have made several arrests of these groups, many are still at large.

McNasby encourages residents to secure doors and windows in their homes, consider installing security systems, and keep valuable items in the home locked away.

Police are also discouraging people from sharing vacation plans or other information that suggests they are away from home, and to use timers for lights and electronic devices to create the illusion of occupancy if they are away.

Suspicious activity should be reported to 9-1-1 services, and anyone with specific information about these groups is asked to contact the Criminal Invesitations Unit at (302) 395-8110.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.