Police: Burglaries in metro Phoenix area linked to South American organized crime groups

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ – According to reports, the recent uptick of burglaries impacting Phoenix metro area residents could be linked to South American organized crime outfits visiting the area. Local authorities have dubbed these organized crime groups as "crime tourists," while signaling these exploits are also a growing national issue.

Officials from the Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) have stated the exploits stemming from these crime tourist groups began cropping up around October of 2023, where residential homes began getting burglarized in a similar manner, typically while the homeowners were away on vacation or other affairs.

Between October of 2023 and January 24, 2024, the city of Scottsdale saw at least 22 of these sorts of residential burglaries, yet few arrests have been made relating to the investigations. However, with what arrests have been made in the aforementioned cases, SPD has obtained evidence supporting the theory that these burglaries are linked to organized crime groups coming out of South America.

Surrounding cities within the Phoenix metro area have also experienced similar cases, with the cities of Gilbert, Phoenix, Peoria, and Paradise Valley having collectively endured over a dozen residential burglaries.

As a result of the problem being so widespread amid central Arizona, police departments across the Phoenix metro area have been collaborating on the investigation, with detectives from various departments convening on January 31 to collectively discuss the matter.

Allison Sempsis, a spokesperson for the Scottsdale Police Department, stated ongoing surveillance operations were being employed by collaborating police departments with “a common goal of identifying and apprehending the offenders involved.”

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have also assisted in investigating these burglaries believed to be caused by these mysterious South American organized crime groups. Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, has stated that details on the ongoing investigation are not ready to be shared publicly.

Phoenix Police’s Sgt. Phil Krynsky, while noting that such burglaries in the city have been non-violent and perpetrators would often flee the area if discovered by area residents, suggested that locals planning on being away from home for extended periods should inform trusted neighbors to ensure mail and other packages left outside in their absence is picked up and not signaling an empty home to would-be burglars.
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