Foreign nationals, primarily from South America, are flying to the United States on B-2 tourist visas for the purpose of burglarizing rich Americans in California, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

A report by ABC7 News details the explosion of home and vehicle burglaries committed by robbery gangs from mostly Chile arriving in the U.S. via the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on tourist visas.

The outlet reports:

Law enforcement agencies call it “crime tourism” — groups of thieves from South America traveling to California to burglarize homes. [Emphasis added]

Surveillance video released by Hillsborough police in Northern California shows a burglary crew believed to be from South America targeting a luxury home. It’s just one in a series of crimes involving burglars from out of the country, hitting homes in affluent communities up and down the state. [Emphasis added]

Earlier this month, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office arrested a four-man crew that robbed a home in a Camarillo neighborhood. [Emphasis added]

Officials with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said they documented about 100 cases in 2021, alone, where South Americans traveled to the U.S. to then rob wealthy residents.

Earlier this month, police officers were led on a high-speed chase by two Chilean nationals who are suspected members of the South American Theft Group.

The Mercury News reported how the so-called “crime tourism” is becoming a major issue for affluent neighborhood residents in California:

Police in Atherton said Chilean gangs were suspected in six home burglaries there in January, including one in which about $50,000 worth of jewelry and other items was stolen. [Emphasis added]

In December 2020, Atherton Police Chief Steven McCulley said, one or more thieves made off with about $800,000 worth of jewelry after breaking through a French door on a home’s balcony. [Emphasis added]

The Chilean gangs’ typical practice is to wait until a house is empty, then break in at night. They are often out within 10 minutes, McCulley said: “They know exactly what they’re looking for and where they’re going.” [Emphasis added]

The East Coast, as  reported in January, is also seeing a surge in home burglaries committed by South American nationals who are using the nation’s Visa Waiver Program to enter the U.S. before targeting wealthy Asian residents in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.

The Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals from a select group of countries to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. Others arrive as illegal aliens.

One Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official called the crime tourists an “enormous threat right now in our country” that is growing by the day. Even after being arrested, though, the illegal aliens and foreign nationals face such low bail that they are often quickly released from police custody.

In Fiscal Year 2019, more than 81.5 million foreign tourists traveled to the U.S. In Fiscal Year 2018, the federal government admitted 22.8 million foreign nationals to the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program.

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