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SDPD says recent La Jolla burglaries linked to 'South American Gang'

The "South American Gang" is suspected of committing more than 80 burglaries across San Diego County since last year.

SAN DIEGO — A notorious gang known for high-end burglaries may be back at it again, after a home in La Jolla was hit over the weekend.

This latest incident happened Friday night around 9:30 p.m. in the Mount Soledad area.

The suspects can be seen on security camera walking away with a large safe. Inside that safe was tens of thousands of dollars in valuables.

"I was completely in shock," said homeowner, Edgar Diaz Garza.

Diaz Garza was alerted to the break-in by an alert from his Ring camera.

He watched helplessly as three men were seen on video leaving his home with his valuables, some of which, like a watch from his father-in-law, are irreplaceable.

"Cash. We had jewelry, watches, things you would think are safe in the safe. It's a lot of family memories," said Diaz Garza.

9-1-1 was called. Officers arrived within three minutes, but it was too late. The men were gone.

As for how they got in, Diaz Garza says they went through his neighbor's alley, which does not have a camera, then hopped his gate.

From there, they smashed his master bathroom window and climbed through, but not before trying two other ways, including breaking a decorative glass piece, as well as his bedroom door.

"They tried breaking that which is laminated and they couldn't," said Diaz Garza.

Once inside, the men rummaged through drawers, before discovering the safe in his closet.

Their tactics very similar to the ones used during a burglary on April 9th at the home of one of his neighbors.

Coincidentally, another neighbor sent Diaz Garza photos last month showing someone taking pictures of his home, suggesting the break in may have been long-planned.

Captain Scott Wahl with San Diego Police confirmed with CBS 8 detectives believe the crimes are linked to the so-called "South American gang," which has been targeting high-end homes in San Diego county since last year.

CBS 8 has aired several videos of the suspected burglars, who have been linked to 21 break ins in La Jolla, and at least 60 in other parts of the county.

Captain Wahl says officers are positioned in La Jolla for this very reason, hoping at some point they'll catch them in the act.

Diaz Garza is hopeful as well.

Until then, he wants people to be aware so they too don't fall victim.

He says having cameras in your bedroom and additional ones outside your home may help.

Also, take pictures of your valuables and write down serial numbers.

Finally, consider moving them to a safe deposit box.

"You think it's not going to happen to you but things happen, unfortunately," said Diaz Garza.

WATCH RELATED: Burglaries by organized theft ring have law enforcement on high alert (March 2022)

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