BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) – Brentwood police arrested alleged home burglars who were caught in the act burglarizing homes, and another suspect is on the run.
According to investigators, this is yet another recent example of South American nationals coming to the United States and targeting upscale neighborhoods.
The most recent incident happened on Oct. 13 at around 7:23 p.m.
That’s when a Brentwood homeowner reportedly saw three burglars inside his home. According to detectives, the three intruders were Chilean nationals armed with burglary tools and flashlights.
On home surveillance video, you can hear the suspects scurrying around and speaking in Spanish.
Police quickly arrived in the neighborhood and heard breaking glass; officers said at that time, the group was targeting a second house. Two of the three men were arrested while one of them escaped.
Officers arrested 20-year-old Rodrigo Ignacio Rivera Lienan. Jail records indicate he is also from Chile. A 15-year-old boy was also arrested and police confirmed he too is from Chile.
“He is 15 years old. He came into the USA in August from Chile, and he has no family members or relatives here in the USA,” Det. Adrian Breedlove said.
Breedlove did not know how the teen got into the country, but he said the teen came here with “the specific purpose of committing crimes” as evidence suggests.
According to Brentwood police, Lienan and the teen were found with $50,000 worth of stolen jewels when they were arrested.
Police also said the suspects are believed to be part of a much bigger and organized crime syndicate originating out of South America.
“I like to look at it as cells of a larger organism. They are individual cells that may or may not know the other members of the other cells, but at the same time there are a lot of them commenting and communicating with each other through various social media means,” Breedlove said.
Police said Lienan confessed to the crime he is charged with, but has yet to say he is part of a larger syndicate.
To those who continue to come to Brentwood to prey on residents, Breedlove has this message.
“We are coming for you. If you are coming into our country to steal from our people, especially Brentwood residents, we are coming for you, without a doubt and we are going to find you,” he said.
Lienan is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, while the 15-year-old is being held in a secured facility; what will become of him is not known at this time, according to police.
Brentwood police told News 2 the third suspect who escaped has been identified and there are warrants out for that man’s arrest.
Breedlove said the group is now connected to similar crimes in Alabama, New York, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida.