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(Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Perhaps by now you’ve heard, there’s a rampant South American Theft Ring wrecking havoc in wealthy areas all over the country, with Southern California, from San Diego to Ventura, being hit particularly hard.

Our owner, Shep Bryan, chatted on the topic with KTLA5 and the OC Register over the weekend. Read the full OC Register article here.

South American Theft Ring Failed Attempt to Crack Safe (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

This UL tested and verified safe was NOT broken into. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Now dubbed “tourist burglars”, groups of 4-8 men travel from South America on tourist visas after being trained for speed and efficiency. These burglaries typically last just 5 mins. They stake out homes, wait for the owner to leave and then strike. In and out before you even know it. They frequently enter in through the second story where most do not have alarm system sensors. They also appear to target homes backed up to open spaces such as golf courses, slopes and parks.

Over the last few years on the Next Door app, we’ve seen some victims of burglary encourage others to put their valuables in a bank safety deposit box (we typically advise against this, read on). One particular family had their Sentry Safe cracked open with minimal effort. What they did not know is that a Sentry Safe may be a viable defense against house guests and workers but that’s it. They are no match for anyone who’s been even remotely trained in the burglary or who has basic tools, and certainly not these South American Tourist Burglars. In addition, bank safety deposit boxes are not a good idea either. Read about why that’s the case here.

To defend against these sophisticated burglars, you need a safe that has been tested for it’s security rating by a third party, ie Underwriters Laboratory (UL). You’d also be wise to purchase your safe from an expert. Whether you buy a safe from us or another long time safe seller, you want to be able to trust who you’re purchasing from. You want someone who will take the time to listen to your needs and concerns, and educate you.

Shep Bryan, owner of Maximum Security Safes, has owned our Santa Ana shop since 1994.

Shep Bryan, owner of Maximum Security Safes, has owned our Santa Ana shop since 1994.

A safe should be your last line of defense. Here are some suggestions from Law Enforcement of other things to do:

  • Make your home look occupied when gone.
  • Put interior lights on timers.
  • Stop the mail and paper when traveling.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows, including property gates, before you leave or go to bed.
  • Consider installing a security system, and if you already have one, make sure alarms and cameras are working properly and not obstructed. Consider glass break alarms.
  • Bolt safes to steel or a cement slab. Ensure your safe is of higher quality (UL tested), not easily pried open.
  • Get to know your neighbors and let them know when you will be away for an extended time.
  • Do not share your plans to be away on social media.
  • Consider getting a monitored alarm system with audible warnings to scare intruders away. If you have a second-story home, make sure the alarm system is installed upstairs, too.
  • Consider getting a FakeTV device, a TV simulator that flashes lights that make it appear a TV is on. These can be set to go on at certain times as well.

In short, do what you can to deter burglars by making your home look occupied. And as your last line of defense, get yourself a quality home safe. Not one from Costco nor Walmart and not a Sentry safe that any smash and grab burglar can break into. Look for UL certification to give you confidence you are buying trustworthy security.

At Maximum Security and Casoro Jewelry Safes we provide high-quality safes and help clients design and select just the right one, providing convenience, protection and most importantly peace of mind.


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