Chilean national Alexis Provoste Aranguiz was in court Tuesday facing felony charges for allegedly burglarizing an Oak Park home.
Aranguiz is facing felony conspiracy and first-degree residential burglary charges, as well as a special allegation that the burglary was a violent crime, Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced.
Aranguiz, 43, was the burglar beaten and captured by an Oak Park homeowner who got home during the burglary Friday night, according to a press release from Nasarenko’s office.
The homeowner, Sal Mercado, told KTLA that while a first burglar escaped into a waiting vehicle, he caught the second burglar, Aranguiz, coming down the stairs with his hands filled with jewelry and electronics.
“I just didn’t give him a chance, just hit him, because first of all, I don’t know if he has a gun, a knife, any kind of weapon, right? You just don’t know. Your mind goes crazy,” Mercado said.
The District Attorney’s office said Aranguiz is “a suspected member of a South American Theft Group,” which are believed to send burglars on trips to the U.S., often through LAX, to target homeowners, steal from them and then return to their home countries in a trend investigators call “crime tourism.”
“A search of Aranguiz yielded stolen property on his person and in his pockets,” the release said.
Nasarenko’s office also confirmed that the homeowner held down until Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived to take him into custody, and the confrontation between the homeowner and Aranguiz is why they decided to move forward with the violent crime allegation.
Aranguiz, who pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, is in custody in lieu of $150,000 bail.
The other burglar and the driver of the getaway car remain at large, according to the District Attorney’s office.
“We ask our residents to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement,” Nasarenko said in the release. “My office will continue to work aggressively with our law enforcement partners to charge and prosecute South American Theft Groups and crews that target residential communities.