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‘Burglary Tourism’ Trend Grows In Southern California

Three men who local prosecutors say were part of a foreign burglary crew that broke into a Carlsbad home were sentenced Monday, July 1, to state prison terms.

Prosecutors say the defendants, who hail from Chile and Italy, operated much like other foreign theft groups whose members enter the U.S. through the ESTA Visa Waiver program, then target homes in wealthy neighborhoods.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement that the case was “part of a crime spree that has plagued our nation where organized criminal rings, often with criminal records in their own country, are given a visa to the United States that they use to commit burglary tourism.”

In this case, police were called to a home on Jan. 25 and spotted a vehicle with stolen plates, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Police surrounded the home and saw the men running from the residence into neighboring yards. The men were eventually caught and found to be wanted for similar crimes in Illinois and Colorado, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Christian Tapia, 39 and Romai Aranedapogge, 36, were sentenced to six years in prison, while Joe Acevedo, 20, received a four-year prison sentence.

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