Police believe a group of burglars recently scared out of a Poway home by a retired couple has ties to a Chilean theft ring that targeted upscale homes in San Diego County for the last year.
Bill and Judi Young wasted no time updating their security system with more cameras and specific alerts, should there be a next time their home is broken into.
As the security recording shows, four people hooded and masked were smashing the glass on their laundry room door.
"I yelled out in a really loud voice, I said, 'Who the hell is in my house?" Bill Young said.
His startling voice had the desired effect, and three seconds later the would-be burglars made a hasty retreat back through the door they’d just smashed.
"They thought nobody was home and they didn’t seem to have anything on them, just one pack. They wanted to get in and get out quick," Bill Young said.
Judi Young seems to think the burglars have had practice.
"I think it is a very well-oiled machine at this point," she said. "I don’t know how they are going to get them."
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department investigators agree, and told the Youngs the suspects appear to be part of a larger burglary ring from Chile.
NBC 7 first told you about the burglary crews in December 2021 when they were targeting high-end homes in Del Mar. Investigators told NBC 7 then, they work in teams of four, they are crafty safe crackers, focusing on cash, coin collections, jewelry and sometimes weapons.
They’re not intimidated by security systems.
"I could have had six more cameras. They didn’t care about the camera," Bill Young said. "You’ll see in one shot the guy looks right up at the camera."
"'The closest place to park the Youngs home outside of their gated community is two miles away. In between there are here are hiking trails, a golf course, a steep hill and a six-foot fence. Still, this is the entrance the crew prefers.
Investigators say the back of the backyard is often the least protected part of the homes the crew targets.
"It just seemed like a safe community. I didn’t think of someone coming across the golf course or walking that far," Bill Young said.
The bandits escaped empty-handed but for one thing: the Youngs' long-time sense of security in their own home.
"They are around, they are still working, they are hitting a lot of people," Judi Young said. "For them to come in when someone is home, they’ve gotten more bold."
The victims say the community is meeting with law enforcement to share ideas about how they can prevent such crimes.