ARIZONA NEWS

Police arrest 3 suspects linked to ‘South American Theft Groups’ in Phoenix

Feb 17, 2024, 6:42 PM

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — Phoenix law enforcement arrested three suspects at what appeared to be an attempted break-in on Friday evening, authorities said.

Surveillance officers in a neighborhood spotted multiple suspects closing in on a residential home near 44th Street and Camelback Road, and officers moved in to thwart the attempted burglary.

The suspects left the property for unknown reasons and got into a nearby minivan, according to authorities. Although officers had blocked in the minivan from leaving, the driver persisted, ramming into unmarked police vehicles but was unsuccessful in the escape attempt.

Four suspects exited the minivan and ran into the neighborhood. Officers set up a perimeter around the neighborhood, arresting three of the suspects and recovering alleged burglary tools discarded in the area. Officers were unable to find the fourth suspect.

The three arrested suspects were identified as 20-year-old driver Sue Ellen Gutierrez Saez, 21-year-old Johan Salvo Alacon and 25-year-old Manuel Eduardo Fuentes Gomez. Each were booked on burglary charges while the driver was also booked on aggravated assault on a police officer.

All three were using fraudulent identification and overstayed visas, according to authorities.

What are the “South American Theft Groups?”

The Phoenix Police Department announced on Feb. 5 that it was working with other Valley agencies to “identify and arrest multiple burglary suspects tied to South American Theft Groups.”

According to the report, a transnational organized crime group referred to as a SATG was being linked to burglaries in the Phoenix area since early December 2023, noting the group was targeting smaller items, such as jewelry or credit cards, with a larger cash value.

In the Feb. 17 report, authorities noted there could still be “several SATGs members outstanding” and they “encourage the community to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police.”

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Police arrest 3 suspects linked to ‘South American Theft Groups’ in Phoenix