Michigan law enforcement officials have created a new task force amid a surge in foreign gangs targeting wealthy neighborhoods for burglaries.
During a recent press conference, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard announced the Southeast Michigan Collaborate Arrest Prosecute (SEM CAB) task force — which will involve collaborating in a partnership with multiple state and federal law enforcement agencies.
According to reporting from local news outlet WXYZ, transnational gangs operating across the United States have been targeting high-end homes, jewelry stores, and cars using sophisticated methods to carry out burglaries.
The outlet explained that these foreign gangs have used crews of approximately four to six “highly functional and well-trained” individuals to target roughly 40 homes in exclusive neighborhoods in metro Detroit over the past few months.
“They reportedly use a jammer to overcome wireless security systems that depend on WiFi to operate,” WXYZ reported. “The crews are all dressed in black, with backpacks, and gloves. Bouchard says they are non-confrontational and their goal is to get in and out of the homes quickly.”
Police have released surveillance footage of some of the high-end robberies, which typically take place at multi-million-dollar homes that the burglars can approach from the back without being seen. The items stolen are typically high-end valuables that can be sold quickly, though the gangs have been known to steal entire safes, as long as they are small enough that the thieves are able to transport them to another location.
WXYZ went on to note that the gangs committing these crimes are “mostly from Latin America,” though Bouchard specified that the gangs targeting his area were mostly from Chile.
During his press conference, the Oakland County sheriff warned people to stop using security systems that rely on WiFi in order to better protect themselves from these types of burglaries.
Bouchard was joined in the press conference by representatives from each of the agencies involved in the new task force, which include the Auburn Hills Police Department, the Berkley Police Department, the Birmingham Police Department, the Bloomfield Hills Police Department, the Bloomfield Township Police Department, the Canton Police Department, the Chesterfield Township Police Department, the Farmington Hills Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Franklin Police Department, the Grosse Pointe Farms Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Keego Harbor Police Department, the Lake Angelus Police Department and numerous others.