Chilean Ring Used NJ Digs To Stash Loot From Home Burglaries In NY, MD, Elsewhere: Feds

Six Chilean nationals who burglarized homes in multiple states were recorded on video stashing a huge safe and other items stolen in the break-ins in a Jersey City apartment building, authorities said.

Security cameras in the Jersey City apartment building captured some of the doings of the Chilean national burglary ring, federal authorities said.

Security cameras in the Jersey City apartment building captured some of the doings of the Chilean national burglary ring, federal authorities said.

Photo Credit: FBI

The crew took pearl necklaces, diamond earrings, a distinctive high school “state champions” ring, and other jewelry during the burglary of a Westchester County, NY, residence in late March, an FBI complaint says.

The same burglars struck again in Baltimore County, MD, in mid-April, taking luxury timepieces, distinctive cufflinks, and a safe that contained a collection of rare coins, the complaint filed in US District Court in Newark, NJ says.

Investigators tracked a Kia Forte used in the Westchester burglary to Jersey City, the FBI said.

There they watched two of the defendants get out and enter an apartment building on Erie Street across from the Holland Gardens public housing complex, according to the complaint.

It was shortly before 1:30 a.m. April 19, it says, that video from security cameras located in the public stairways and entrance of the five-story brick walkup captured images of five of the men moving the safe up the stairs.

As they do, one uses a mop to block the view of a security camera while another covers the safe with a blanket, the complaint says.

Around 10 a.m. that same day, two of the men moved the blanketed safe back down the stairs and out the door to the Kia, the FBI said.

A couple hours later, “the defendants can be seen moving bags, designer luggage, and boxes containing other property down the stairs and exiting” the building, the complaint says.

Four hours after that – roughly 4 p.m. – authorities found the Kia parked in a garage near the Newport Centre mall and all six men in a store in the mall.

Five of the men ended up in the hands of ICE for unrelated immigration violations, the FBI said.

Meanwhile, a warranted search of the Kia turned up “several of the bags, luggage, and boxes” that the crew had moved into and out of the Jersey City apartment, the complaint says.

Items stolen from the homes in Westchester and Baltimore County were in some of the bags and elsewhere in the vehicle, it says.

The Kia also contained at least six pairs of work gloves (without other protective work clothing), face masks, unches for breaking glass windowpanes, a handheld radial saw, screwdrivers, and precision cutting tools, the FBI said.

“Thieves are victimizing more and more homeowners in New Jersey and beyond, traveling up from South American nations,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “They hit multiple victims in one community, quickly move on to the next, and then flee back to their native country.

“This isn't your traditional crime spree; it is an actual industry of organized criminals who invade and shatter people's private sanctuaries and steal valuable possessions.”

Flavio Bladimir Astete Castillo, Dareyen Mauricio Cortes-Canete, Luis Esteban Castillo Vivar, Max Vidal Navarrete, Jordán Estefano Contreras Vilches, and Juan Jose Ramirez Nilo, are all charged with both receiving and selling stolen property that had crossed state lines and conspiring to do so, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Philip R. Sellinger said.

A federal magistrate judge in Newark ordered five of the defendants detained on Thursday, May 23, the US attorney said.

Ramirez Nilo had been brought on another charge to Los Angeles, where a federal magistrate judge ruled similarly on Wednesday, he said.

Sellinger credited the FBI Newark’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department and the Clinton Township Police Department with the investigation leading to the charges.

He also thanked FBI Los Angeles Major Theft Task Force and Customs and Border Protection, as well as the Amtrak Police Department, Baltimore County Police Burglary Unit, Jersey City Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, New Jersey State Police, New York State Police, Westchester County Police and NJ TRANSIT Police.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Trevor A. Chenoweth of Sellinger’s General Crimes Unit in Newark is handling the case for the government.

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