FORT COLLINS, Colo — Three people have been arrested in connection with a 2019 residential burglary spree targeting 26 Asian business owners in Colorado and Wyoming, according to Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS).
A fourth suspect has been identified but remains a fugitive and is believed to be in South America, according to police.
“The suspects in this international case brazenly victimized members of our community and beyond, and they will finally be held accountable,” said FCPS Criminal Investigations Assistant Chief Tim Doran.
“Every crime is wrong, but one focused against a particular race or ethnic group is particularly reprehensible. I’m all the more proud of our detectives who spent over two years piecing this puzzle together. I’m also grateful for teamwork with local, state and federal partners to help 26 families seek justice.”
Santiago Hoyos Gaviria, 24, and Yenny Zoraya Rodas-Florez, 30, were both arrested in September 2020. A third suspect, Carlos Geovanny Florez-Molina, 34, on April 1 of this year.
Jhon Florez-Molina, 28, remains a fugitive and is believed to be evading arrest in Colombia, South America, police said.
In January of 2019, FCPS began investigating a series of residential burglaries where families of Asian descent were targeted by unknown suspects.
Police received reports of home burglaries from five families between January and April 2019.
In each case, according to FCPS, the burglars targeted the family’s residences during the day by knocking on the front door for a few minutes to ensure no one was home, and then forcibly entering through a door or an accessible window.
Once inside, the burglars ransacked the homes and took cash, jewelry and safes, FCPS said. Investigators learned that cases with the same pattern were occurring across the country, reportedly being carried out by organized criminal groups with ties to South America.
FCPS detectives determined that the same three men and one woman were participating as members of an organized criminal group, police said.
Authorities learned that 26 families, including five in Larimer County, had been victims in Colorado and Wyoming between January and July 2019. All were Asian business owners, and the total loss from all the burglaries was estimated between $1.3 million – $1.4 million, FCPS said.
FCPS detectives and prosecutors with the Colorado Attorney General's Office presented the case to a grand jury. In July 2020, the grand jury issued indictments for Hoyos Gaviria, Rodas-Florez and Florez-Molina.
Each was charged with:
- Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA) – pattern of racketeering and participating in an enterprise
- COCCA – conspiracy
- 24 counts – second-degree burglary to a dwelling
- 20 counts – theft and/or criminal mischief
In September 2020, FCPS detectives traveled to Florida and, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshal Service and the FBI, located and apprehended Rodas-Florez and Hoyos Gaviria in the Miami area.
Following their arrests, FCPS detectives learned the identity of the fourth suspect, Florez-Molina, also of Miami. A warrant was obtained for his arrest and on April 1 of this year, Florez-Molina was located and apprehended in Doral, Florida.
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