Chileans Criminals Arrested in Pacific Palisades

(Editor’s note: this story appeared in the Westside Current March 10 and is reprinted with permission.)

Los Angeles police have arrested three men and a 17-year-old teenager, identified as tourists from Chile, involved in a recent spree of burglaries across Los Angeles, particularly targeting the Pacific Palisades area.

The group, dubbed “burglary tourists,” fell under LAPD surveillance last week as they cased homes off Sunset Boulevard, not far from their previous operations in East Hollywood earlier in the month.

Detectives from the LAPD’s Northeast Division tracked the suspects from the San Fernando Valley to Pacific Palisades, intercepting them before any further burglaries could occur. The arrests revealed the suspects’ Chilean origins, part of a trend where Chilean crime groups enter Southern California on tourism visas to commit thefts and robberies, a phenomenon known as “burglary tourism.”

Three suspects were apprehended without incident, while the teenage suspect attempted to flee on foot, discarding his cellphone and changing clothes in an effort to evade an arrest.

The suspects were found with various burglary tools and evidence inside their vehicle, linking them to burglaries on February 17.

Patricio Lian, 20, and Carlos Antonio Gonzalez-Ravest, 20, along with Joaquin Elias Munoz, 19, and the unidentified teenager, are believed to have entered the U.S. as tourists in recent years. Lian, now held without bail, and Gonzalez-Ravest, detained on multiple felony warrants, were reportedly living in Los Angeles hotels after overstaying their visas.

Authorities urge anyone with additional information to contact the LAPD’s Northeast Division detectives or the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers for anonymous tips. This case highlights the ongoing issue of “burglary tourism” and its impact on Southern California communities.

(Note: Chile joined the Visa Waiver Program in 2014, which means that in order to travel to the U.S., a Chilean citizen must apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) online at least 72 hours before the departure. The procedure is easy and quick. All they need to do is fill in the online form that requires their name, ID number, contacts as well as a biographic, credit card, and travel information. The data is then reviewed on the spot by the system, giving an automated response. After this, the person can travel from Chile to the USA visa-free within the next 24 months or until their passport expires for no longer than 90 days per visit.)


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