String of U.S. burglaries tied to South American gang

ABINGTON, PA – Four Chilean men have been apprehended in connection with a string of burglaries targeting well-to-do homes in Pennsylvania, law enforcement revealed on Saturday.

The men were observed on Friday evening in the Meadowbrook area of Abington, an affluent neighborhood that has seen a dozen homes burglarized since 2021, according to Abington Township Police Department.

These burglaries are not isolated incidents but are part of a countrywide crime spree carried out by South American theft groups, predominantly from Chile and Colombia. These groups are known to infiltrate the U.S. with the sole aim of targeting high-end homes, the police explained.

“This is a worrying trend,” Abington Police Lt. Steve Fink shared with local ABC6.

The suspects, Alvaro Javier Ganin Ganin, 36, Jorge Fabrizeo Sepulveda Alvarez, 34, Vaster Miller Guajardo Pedrero, 31, and Nicolas Andres Matus Lucero, 29, were pulled over by a detective who suspected their vehicle was surveying the neighborhood.

Their story of driving from California to Pennsylvania to visit a friend and find a restaurant didn’t hold up when some of the men were found with counterfeit identification cards, while others had none.

A search of the vehicle revealed a cache of burglary tools, including masks, gloves, flashlights, pry bars, a reciprocating saw, and a glass break tool. Photos and GPS directions to specific homes in the Meadowbrook neighborhood were also discovered.

The men were arrested and charged with attempted burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of crime instruments, and loitering and prowling at nighttime. They are currently detained at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, awaiting their court appearance.