Oakland County burglaries hitting upscale homes, names ‘everybody would know’

Posted at 7:06 PM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 20:38:41-04

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — A recent string of burglaries targeting high-end homes and neighborhoods has police throughout Oakland County urging residents to be vigilant.

Those responsible, police say, is a South American group of highly-trained burglars who targeted our region months ago.

“They were taking a lot of money out of very high-end homes,” said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard at a recent press conference. “A lot of our victims are names everybody in this room would know.”

Warning from Bouchard in the video player below:

Oakland County Sheriff warns of more high-end home invasions

Last week, Bouchard said as many as four homes were burglarized throughout the county, and now Bloomfield Township police say two homes there were hit too.

Police believe the burglars come predominately from Chile and Venezuela. They are believed to be responsible for a number of upscale burglaries over the last two years that struck affluent homes in Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Grosse Pointe Farms, Rochester and Rochester Hills.

The burglaries have netted millions in cash and jewelry, police say.

Surveillance video captures high-end break-ins below:

Surveillance video captures high-end break-ins; sheriff announces task force

In December, Attorney General Dana Nessel charged three Chilean nationals for their role in the break-ins.

“This group is very active across the country and they are very, they adapted to law enforcement techniques,” said Bloomfield Township Police Chief James Gallagher, who added that the burglars have targeted a similar style of home.

“A lot of them are wooded areas closer to main roads, golf courses, things of that nature where individuals could discretely enter a property without being seen by other neighbors,” Gallagher said.

The break-in is both sophisticated and old fashioned. The burglars often enter after throwing a brick through a back window but, they’ve been known to use jamming equipment to disable security systems.

Cash, jewelry, safes and high-end handbags have been the items most often stolen, police say, and perpetrators haven’t taken long to collect them.

In Bloomfield Township, police responded recently to a security alarm within two minutes of a break-in, but the burglars had already left.

Police believe the burglars are likely surveilling their targeted homes before breaking in, and urge the public to report anyone who looks suspicious.

“Nothing is not important enough to call us,” Gallagher said. “You’re not bothering the police to call us if you think something thing’s out of the ordinary. That’s how we’re going to catch them.”