Nassau County police arrested four men who were allegedly involved in four burglaries that occurred between July 4 and Oct. 7.
The South American Theft Group allegedly carried out several organized burglaries around the East Coast of the United States, according to police. Nassau detectives said they had been monitoring the group's members since April.
Defendants Mario Roberto Munoz-Acevedo, 51, Juan Daniel Leiva Sepulveda, 38, Juan Lopez Gonzalez, 34 and Matias Ignacio Brito Baragano, 25, all live on 60th Avenue in Flushing
The men were was suspected of breaking into two jewelry stores in Greenvale on July 31 at 10:46 p.m. and in Freeport on July 4, at 12:20 a.m., as well as other burglaries in the area.
The men allegedly disconnected the power meters of the jewelry stores which disrupted the closed circuit television equipment and alarm systems.
They waited for the backup batteries to lose power before returning to the jewelry stores and committing the crimes undetected, using professional grade power tools and equipment to open locked doors and smash into safes, according to police. Detectives also uncovered that several cars and cell phones were used to conduct counter surveillance.
Munoz-Acevedo has been arrested for the two jewelry store burglaries, which resulted in losses of more than $570,000 and the investigation is ongoing.
Police then apprehended Sepulveda and Gonzalez for an alleged burglary on Albert Place in Lawrence on Oct. 7.
Munoz-Acevedo is charged with two charges of third-degree burglary. He was arraigned on Nov. 12 and is in custody. His next court appearance is Nov. 15. He attempted to enter the United States on multiple occasions in August 2021 but was turned away at the Mexican border, where he then used an alias and entered illegally at an unknown date.
Sepulveda is charged with second-degree burglary. He is also in custody and was due in court on Nov. 15. Police said he entered the country by car through Mexico on or around Feb. 3, 2020. He remained in the U.S. after his visa expired.
Gonzalez was charged with second-degree burglary. He is also in custody and was due in court on Nov. 15. He was detained while in possession of a forged Mexican driver's license and a forged Mexican federal election card, according to police. Gonzalez is suspected to have entered the country illegally.
Baragano was arrested as a fugitive from justice on a warrant issued in Volusia County, Florida. Following his arrest, he was discovered to be in possession of a forged Republic of Argentina passport, which he used to fly into Miami International Airport. He is being held by the Nassau County Sheriff's Office pending extradition.