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Kokomo police: Trio in South American theft group caught

From top left: Macarena Andrea Faundez Gonzales, 28; Paulina Diaz Gonzales, 31; and Ecsal Erasmo Perez, 43. (Provided Photos/Kokomo Police Department)

KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) — Two women from Chile and a man from Guatemala — said to be part of continuing Kokomo police investigation involving a South American theft group — have been caught in Michigan.

Kokomo Police Department in April arrested three woman as part of a South American theft group, the agency reported Thursday in a social media post. Those arrests came after an investigation that began in January 2022.

Fast-forward to April 1, 2023, two women and a man were accused of stealing a Kokomo resident’s wallet. Later, the trio used stolen credit cards from the wallet to buy gift cards at a Kokomo store. Alert store managers noticed the theft, causing the trio to flee when confronted. A vehicle description was distributed to law enforcement agencies nearby and in surrounding states.

Three days after the wallet theft, several mid-Michigan agencies jointly apprehended the trio, who all were part of a South American theft group. Kokomo police said in Thursday’s post that the trio were jailed in an Isabella County facility in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. That’s about a 4-hour, 30-minute drive north of Kokomo.

Howard Circuit Court in Kokomo has issued arrest warrants for Macarena Andrea Faundez Gonzales, 28; Paulina Diaz Gonzales, 31; and Ecsal Erasmo Perez, 43. They face charges of fraud, theft, and corrupt business influence.

Anyone with information on the case was asked to contact Kokomo police Capt. Bruce Rood at (765) 456-7332 or the Kokomo Police Department Hotline at (765) 456-7017. 

In July, Fishers Police Department made arrests also connected with a South American theft group. Fishers police first warned residents of the group after a string of burglaries where suspects forced their way into homes in the Masthead and Hamilton Proper neighborhoods. At the time, Fishers police said the group sought jewelry, cash and guns.

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