South American burglary crew targets high-end Lakewood homes overlooking golf courses: police

Thieves have broken into three homes in the small quiet community since the end of January.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Chilean burglary crew targets suburban homes near golf courses: police
A burglary crew from South America has been targeting McHenry County homes overlooking golf courses, the Lakewood, IL police department said.

LAKEWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- The Lakewood community in McHenry County has dozens of beautiful homes overlooking golf courses.

But, in the last six weeks, residents have been concerned that some of those houses have also become targets for thieves.

"We're on high alert," said Cindy Babich, a McHenry County resident.

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Thieves have broken into three homes in the small quiet community since the end of January. All three backed up to golf courses, and the thieves got in through the back door. Police believe a gang of thieves from South America may be responsible.

"Guys are donating time. They are committed to the project. They wanna get these guys as soon as possible," said Lakewood Police Chief Mike Roth.

Authorities in a number of Chicago area communities have been targets for a theft ring from Chile. In January, Oak Brook police were able to arrest one suspect involved in a burglary at a home that backed up to a wooded area. That suspect had only come to this country days earlier. Several of his accomplices, however, were able to get away.

"We just wanted to make sure our residents knew about it," said Oakwood Hills Police Chief Ray Cordell.

The nearby village of Oakwood Hills sent residents an email, alerting them of the burglary ring, which they say, "attempt to break into homes through patio and glass doors. They steal expensive jewelry."

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Police from numerous jurisdictions met last week to share information about the South American ring. Lakewood police plan to share some of that information at a meeting with residents on Tuesday night, as well as offer safety tips.

"Lighting, calling right away, alarms. A lot of people have ring cameras," Roth said.

Authorities said it appears the burglars are targeting homes where they believe the residents are out of town. Lakewood police said they've beefed up patrols in those areas.