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Docs: Police say South American crime group targeting Asian business owners

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — A South American crime group is believed to be targeting Asian business owners in central Indiana and a recent burglary may be tied to group members, Fishers police said Wednesday.

Charly Sneider Benavides Mayorga, 34, and 33-year-old Jhon Jairo Munoz Lopera, face charges of burglary, resisting law enforcement, theft, and possession of false government identification.

Just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Fishers police responded to an alarm at a home in the 15600 block of Allistair Drive, just off of East 104th Street near Cyntheanne Road.

Officers arrived and saw two men, later identified as Mayorga and Lopera, running away from a house, across East 104th Street, and into the neighborhood directly to the south, according to court documents.

The men ignored an officer’s commands to stop and took off running toward a retention pond, where they split up.

Police found Lopera near a house on Campolina Lane. A search of his fanny pack turned up a cell phone, a driver’s license from Spain, a Columbian passport, and a New York ID card bearing the name Juan David Meneses Velazco.

The New York ID card was “poorly made, as the lamination did not fully fit the ID,” court papers say. The driver’s license from Spain had the same name and date of birth as the New York ID, according to police, and the picture on both cards looked like Lopera.

Officers used a police K9 to find Mayorga hiding next to a tree. He had been bitten by the police K9, according to court documents.

Inside Mayorga’s fanny pack, police found a cell phone, Columbian passport, Venezuelan ID card, and Buenos Aires Driver’s License.

The passport, driver’s license, and ID card all had different names on them, court papers say, and the photo on all three documents had pictures that resembled Mayorga.

Due to their use of multiple fake IDs, it’s unclear where the men are from.

Lopera and Mayorga were checked out by paramedics and taken to the Hamilton County Jail.

Police searched the home that was burglarized and found a crowbar and a zip-up laundry bag that contained 13 designer purses or wallets, two designer belts, some Euros, and paper envelopes with the victim’s business information printed on them. The paper envelopes contained just over $2,382 in cash.

Court papers say the designer purses and belts had a value of approximately $25,897.

Police believe the Lopera and Mayorga may be part of a South American theft ring targeting Asian business owners in Hamilton and Marion County.

The burglaries carried out by the group “involve targeted thefts of jewelry, cash, safes, but not electronics,” according to court documents. Group members are known to carry fake identification, wear designer clothing, and use rental cars parked away from the scene of the break-in.

These burglaries often target high-end homes, park nearby, break rear sliding doors or windows, and work during evening shifts, court papers say.

Police say a similar theft was reported in February in Hamilton Proper, which is within seven miles of Tuesday’s reported burglary.