Chilean national Alexis Provoste Aranguiz was in court on Tuesday facing felony charges for allegedly burgling an Oak Park home.
Aranguiz faces charges of criminal conspiracy and first-degree residential burglary, as well as a special allegation that the burglary was a violent crime, Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said.
Aranguiz, 43, was the burglar beaten and captured by an Oak Park landlord who returned home during the burglary Friday night, according to a press release from Nasarenko’s office.
Owner Sal Mercado told KTLA that as a first burglar escaped in a waiting vehicle, he caught the second burglar, Aranguiz, walking down the stairs with his hands full of jewelry and electronics.
“I just didn’t give him a chance, I just hit him, because first of all, I don’t know if he has a gun, a knife, any type of weapon , is not it ? You just don’t know. Your mind goes crazy,” Mercado said.
The district attorney’s office said Aranguiz was “a suspected member of a South American robbery group,” which is believed to send burglars on trips to the United States, often via LAX, to target homeowners, fly, then return to their country of origin. a trend that investigators call “criminal tourism”.
“A search in Aranguiz revealed stolen property from his person and from his pockets,” the statement said.
Nasarenko’s office also confirmed that the owner stayed until Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived to take him into custody, and the confrontation between the owner and Aranguiz is why they decided to move forward with the violent crime allegation.
Aranguiz, who pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, is in custody in lieu of $150,000 bond.
The other burglar and the driver of the getaway car are still at large, according to the district attorney’s office.
“We ask our residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement,” Nasarenko said in the statement. “My office will continue to work aggressively with our law enforcement partners to charge and prosecute South American robbery groups and teams that target residential communities.
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