Crime & Courts

Police bust burglary syndicate recruiting Latin Americans

SHAH ALAM: A 55-year-year old local woman believed to be the mastermind behind the recruitment of Latin Americans to carry out house break-ins in Selangor and Johor has been arrested, along with five others.

The group, which comprise two Latinos and four locals, target luxurious houses without occupants, before they strike.

Police believe they have solved at least 19 break-in cases with estimated losses of RM1.91million reported since October last year, following the arrest on January 3.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Shuhaily Mohd Zain today said the breakthrough for the case came after a message went viral warning residents to be careful of a red Perodua Bezza.

"Checks on the car revealed that it was reported stolen from Kulai, Johor last year and since then has been used to commit house break-ins by the syndicate.

"Police then gathered intelligence and carried out simultaneous raids at several locations in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor which led to the suspects arrest and recovery of some of the stolen items," he said, adding that the two Latin Americans from Colombia were arrested at the Subang Airport and KLIA 2 while trying to escape to Thailand.

Further checks revealed the two men had entered the country using a social visit pass and one of them even had a past criminal record for similar break-jn offences and had been detained under Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) 1959 previously.

Shuhaily said the modus operandi of the syndicate is to approach a house without any occupants pretending to be from a courier company.

It is learnt that when no one answers the door, they break into the houses.

The suspects are aged between 45 and 62 years old.

"The other suspects arrested were those who facilitated the break-ins including the driver of the red car and a couple who the mastermind sold the stolen goods to.

"The couple was also arrested in the police raid. The case is being investigated under Section 457 of the Penal Code for burgalry and house break in," he told a press conference here today.

Also present at the press conference was the Selangor police chief Datuk Hussein Omar Khan and his deputy Datuk Sashikala Devi.

Among the items police recovered and seized from the suspects were 64 luxury watches, 79 pieces of jewellery, bags, foreign currency and house break-in tools.

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