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Burglary Tourists Using Hidden Cameras to Break into SoCal Homes, LASD Warns

Photo of camera hidden in flower bed
Photo of camera hidden in flower bed

In a disturbing new trend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) has issued an urgent warning to Southern California residents about "burglary tourists" from South America. These sophisticated thieves are reportedly planting hidden cameras in local neighborhoods to monitor the best times to break into homes.

The warning comes after a local resident discovered a hidden camera and a battery pack concealed in a flower bed. The device, cleverly disguised with leaves to blend in with the shrubbery, was found during routine gardening. This discovery has prompted authorities to urge homeowners to be extra vigilant.

A Growing Threat

The concept of "burglary tourists" is particularly alarming. These criminals, often from South America, enter the United States on short-term tourist visas. Once here, they employ covert tactics to scout potential targets. By hiding cameras in natural surroundings like bushes and flower beds, they can monitor the comings and goings of homeowners, ensuring they strike when the house is empty.

The LASD has released images showing the ingenuity of these hidden devices, underscoring the importance of awareness and vigilance among residents. The sophistication of these criminals is evident in their methods, which involve blending technology seamlessly with the environment to avoid detection.

Recent Arrests Highlight the Issue

This warning is not just theoretical. Last week, four Colombian nationals were arrested in Glendale, suspected of being part of an international "burglary tourism" ring. The arrests followed a routine traffic stop, which revealed their involvement in these sophisticated crimes.

These incidents highlight a broader trend where criminals exploit the relative ease of obtaining tourist visas to commit crimes in foreign countries. By the time their visas expire, they have often stolen valuable items and returned to their home countries, making it difficult for authorities to track and apprehend them.

Staying Safe: Tips from Authorities

In response to this growing threat, the LASD advises residents to take several precautionary measures:

1. Regular Inspections: Routinely check your property, especially gardens and yards, for any suspicious devices. This includes areas where cameras might be hidden among leaves, bushes, or other natural cover.

2. Report Suspicious Activity: If you find any unusual devices or notice strangers loitering in your neighborhood, report it to local law enforcement immediately.

3. Boost Home Security: Consider enhancing your home security system. This might include installing visible cameras, alarm systems, and ensuring all entry points are secure.

4. Stay Informed: Keep up to date with local news and law enforcement bulletins to stay aware of any new threats or incidents in your area.

Community Vigilance is Key

The LASD's warning is a stark reminder of the evolving tactics used by criminals and the importance of community vigilance. By staying alert and taking proactive steps, residents can help protect their homes and neighborhoods from these sophisticated burglary operations.

As we face these new challenges, it's crucial for everyone in the community to work together, share information, and support each other in keeping our homes safe from these international criminals.

Source: ABC 7


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