South American theft group suspects

(Top L) Cesar Hedando Cortez Vlla,  (Top R) Danhrl Pelegrani, (Bottom L) Lucas Oros Valderrnto, (Bottom R) Juan Gutierrez.

The Metro Nashville Police Department arrested four men on Wednesday for allegedly burglarizing a home where more than $200,000 in jewelry and cash was stolen. Those four men are currently being investigated for a series of similar burglaries in Brentwood.

MNPD identified the men in a news release as Danhrl Pelegrani, 36, Juan Gutierrez, 32, Lucas Oros Valderrnto, 31, and Cesar Hedando Cortez Vlla, 23, noting that the men all refused to be interviewed and are believed to be from Chile.

Brentwood Police Department Assistant Police Chief Jim Colvin said in a phone call that the men are believed to be a part of the organized “South American theft group” that is known to both BPD and generally to law enforcement agencies across the nation.

"They're the ones who're targeting jewelry, small stuff that they can carry and not being noticed," Colvin said. 

The crime ring has been tied to similar crimes in California and Indiana in what's been called "crime tourism."

"The investigation shows that the four used a rental SUV to arrive and then flee from the [Nashville] burglary scene," MNPD said in the news release. "Surveillance of the SUV led officers to a hotel on Atrium Way, where the vehicle was blocked in by law enforcement and the four men arrested."

MNPD reported finding "jewelry items" in the SUV, as well as two black outfits that they said were were wet and had grass on them, evidence that they said was consistent with a safe that was found discarded in a wooded area outside of a Forest Hills home.

Police searched a hotel room they said was rented by the men, finding multiple identifications for other people. 

All four men were charged with aggravated burglary, and a judicial commissioner set each man's bond at $100,000. 

They are also the subject of investigations in two other unspecified states in addition to in Brentwood.

BPD is investigating a string of residential burglaries that saw forced entry into homes where valuables, including jewelry and money, were stolen.

The latest burglaries reported by BPD in their weekly crime analysis occurred between Sept. 8 and Sept. 10, on Exton Lane and Sleeping Valley Court.

The group is suspected in those burglaries as well as other incidents that occurred in July and August, and Colvin said that they could be tied to other burglaries earlier in the year.

At this time, it's unclear how much they are believed to have stolen in Brentwood, but police estimate the value to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Colvin said that BPD has also responded to a series of vehicle break-ins recently which they believe are tied to the Felony Lane Gang, another crime ring that's also known nationally, which have recently been reported as operating throughout Middle Tennessee, including several incidents in Murfreesboro.

Colvin said that all of these incidents are currently under investigation and no more information, including potential charges against the four men in relation to the Brentwood burglaries, have been made public.