Foreigner arrested over series of break-ins

A Guatemalan man, believed to be part of a Latin American syndicate, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with a series of break-ins in private housing estates in recent weeks.

The police recovered an assortment of currencies, watches, jewellery and other valuable items amounting to about $300,000.

The 40-year-old man, who arrived here on Oct 14, was arrested when the police raided a budget hotel on Balestier Road, after the Police Intelligence Department and various Land Divisions conducted investigations.

The suspect later led the police to a rented room at Claymore Drive, where the money and housebreaking tools were found.

Police said yesterday that there had been a spike in the number of break-ins reported at private residential units islandwide since the start of last month. Investigations are continuing, but the police have confirmed the man is linked to at least three cases.

Houses were broken into and ransacked before the victims returned home from work or dinner.

In most cases, the rear doors and gates to the houses were forced open, and valuable items and cash were stolen.

The commander of Tanglin Police Division, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Lu Yeow Lim, said at a press conference yesterday that there has been a surge in the number of crimes committed by Latin Americans this year.

DAC Lu explained that crimes committed by foreigners are harder to solve because they strike repeatedly in a short span of time, and then leave the country.

The police urged the public to take measures to protect their houses.

These include ensuring that doors, windows and other openings are secured with quality grilles and padlocks, installing a burglar alarm or a surveillance camera and keeping large sums of cash in banks and expensive jewellery in a safe deposit box.

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