Special Task Force Launched to Counteract Nationwide Upscale Home Burglaries by Highly Trained South American Gangs Using Security Jammers

A new specialized task force has been established in response to the increasing incidents of break-ins targeting upscale homes in exclusive neighborhoods of metro Detroit. The new group, known as SEM CAB (Southeast Michigan Collaborate Arrest Prosecute), is a collaboration of multiple law enforcement agencies including local police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Michigan State Police, US Border Patrol, US Secret Service, and several county sheriff’s offices.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard made the announcement during a recent news conference, emphasizing the severity of the situation and revealing that an international criminal operation is suspected to be behind these sophisticated burglaries. This task force’s formation follows a previous announcement by Bouchard several months ago, indicating the scale and persistence of the criminal activities in the region.

The criminal crews, primarily believed to be from Latin America, particularly Chile, are described as highly functional and well-trained. Surveillance footage shared at the briefing illustrates the proficiency of the break-in crews, which have targeted an estimated 30 to 40 upscale residences since the previous autumn. Just over the last weekend, five incidents were reported across different locales.

Sheriff Bouchard described these gangs as skilled and organized, employing technology such as jammers to disrupt WiFi-dependent security systems. Clad in black attire with gloves and carrying backpacks, the crews operate stealthily, aiming for fast intrusions and exits, avoiding confrontations. Their targets are multi-million-dollar homes, often entering from secluded rear windows or second stories to steal high-value items and transportable safes.

WXYZ Detroit reported that Bouchard mentioned four people are in custody in the Oakland County Jail in connection with this ring, and others are in custody in other parts of the country. They are working to connect them to robberies in Michigan. The crews are mostly from Latin America, with the majority believed to be Chilean, and they strike quickly in one area before moving on to another.

Bouchard recommended that in order to protect their homes, people should focus on redundant systems that do not rely solely on WiFi for communication. Additionally, people who live in areas that fit the pattern of the robberies should consider calling the police if their WiFi goes down and they cannot figure out why, as that may point investigators to an area that is being targeted or hit.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office stated, “Even though crews that have hit Oakland County and beyond have been arrested, the crime spree is on the uptick since the estimate is there are 100 or more of these transnational teams roaming the country committing these crimes at any given moment. That is why Sheriff Bouchard appreciates all our partners local, state and federal coming together to tackle this together. We anticipate more charges on one of the criminal crews soon from the attorney general. Stay alert and don’t be afraid to call the police if you see something suspicious.”


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