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Police Capture 5 Suspects In Long Island's 'South American Theft Group' From Chilè

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Investigators say five men suspected in multiple home burglaries in Nassau County are part of an organized crime ring out of South America.

Amaro Rosas, Bayron Palta, Fabian Catalan, Juan Rosas and William Perez were arrested late Thursday night after a burglary spree on Long Island's North Shore, reports CBS2's Tara Jakeway.

Police say they broke into a home in Locust Valley and stole thousands in cash and jewelry, and in Sands Point they stole a safe full of valuables from a home - 15 robberies in all.

The men, ranging in age from 20- to 26-years-old, are all from Chilè and all part of an organized crime unit now known as the South American Theft Group.

"Residential burglaries in Nassau County are up 75% since Jan. 1," said Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "That's the largest jump in any crime category in years."

Ryder says this crew accounts for at least half of that increase. Ryder says two other factions of the Theft Group were arrested in January and late 2019, but they're already back on the streets.

"They come in here on a 90-day visa, almost all of them over-stay the visa unless they get arrested," he said.

Due to the new bail reform laws, they are released.

"I think it's disgusting, it's horrible, the whole bail reform is ridiculous," said Tali Waxman, a North Shore resident.

The incidents are leaving life-long North Shore residents living in fear.

"I don't feel safe like I used to as a child with what's going on," said Wendy Karyo, also of the North Shore.

Late Friday afternoon, a judge decided these five group members would be remanded into custody, but Ryder expects other members will hit homes again soon.

"They've been here, they will continue to come and cycle through this crew out of Chile," said Ryder.

County officials recommending that residents invest in video surveillance or video doorbells, and when going out of town, leave lights on a timer and tell a neighbor to keep an eye on the property.

The five theft group members arrested this week will be back in court on March 10.

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