NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Four men are in the Metro Jail this evening charged with aggravated burglary.

Metro and Brentwood Police busted the quartet after catching them red-handed breaking into a multi-million dollar Forest Hills home.

The crime is part of a recent trend where South American nationals infiltrate a community for the expressed purpose of burglarizing upscale homes.

The four men, who refused to talk to police are identified as, Danhrl Pelegrani, 36, Juan Gutierrez, 32, Lucas Oros Valderrnto, 31, and Cesar Hedando Cortez Villa, 23.

Sources close to the investigation told News 2 that undercover agents with MNPD Brentwood Police surveilled the alleged burglary ring Wednesday night.

That’s when undercover agents reportedly watched the men enter the gated Forest Hills community.

Court documents indicate the Chilean nationals were driving a rental vehicle when they allegedly broke into a multi-million dollar home.

According to police, the men were followed to an Atrium Way motel where they were taken into custody.

Authorities recovered $200,000 worth of jewelry and money stolen from the home. Authorities also found black outfits covered in wet grass consistent with someone walking in a wooded area, according to an MNPD press release.

Police also seized multiple identifications—none of which belong to the men.

When police returned to the home, they found a safe taken from the house that was discarded in the woods.

The owner of the home confirmed the items found in the suspect’s SUV were hers.

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News 2 spoke with a resident of the community who lives near the crime scene. He said the police did a good job catching the men so quickly.

Joe Scarlett says that’s fabulous. That is the right way to do it.

The man who has lived in this community for decades says the break-in has him on edge. “This has just happened recently, and we are now locking our cars which we were not doing before. We have an alarm system and we are talking about putting cameras in also.”

A multi-month News 2 investigation has revealed that this latest burglary has strong similarities to several other recent crimes involving South American nationals who police say come to this region for the expressed purpose of stealing, primarily in wealthy communities.

The four men arrested Wednesday night are believed to be part of a group that come to this country
specifically to commit crimes in areas where there are large homes.

“It is difficult on us, because they are not U.S. citizens and we have no idea who they are,” Portland Police Lt. Jason Arnold said. “Something we have never dealt with, and after speaking to Homeland Security, we find out that this is regular, and people from Chile will come up here and do things like this.”

Arnold’s department worked a number of car burglaries at a Portland golf course in September. The thieves immediately used the credit cards to buy expensive merchandise.

Brentwood Police arrested alleged home burglars in July, who led police on a high-speed chase through backyards before being apprehended.

Assistant Chief Jim Colvin told News 2 at the time, “It’s very coordinated and they rotate people in and out of the country. They are not here long.”

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Other law officers working similar crimes tell News 2, their suspects are also from South America. In one case the suspect posted an incredibly high cash bond, got out of jail, and sources say, failed to show up for his court date.