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Broward County burglary suspect charged with racketeering and money laundering

Posted on June 21, 2010 3:00 AM EST

A Broward County man accused of being involved in the burglary of homes and the theft of more than $2.7 million in high end jewelry in West Palm Beach and throughout the South Florida area was formally charged with two counts of racketeering and one count of money laundering. Kane Steven Lopez of Hallandale is accused of being the leader of the burglary ring. He is scheduled to appear in circuit court with his criminal defense lawyer on Friday. The arrest came as part of a joint investigation conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, the Miami-Dade Police Department and law enforcement departments form Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, North Miami Beach and Boca Raton.

Because the crimes were committed across several South Florida counties, the Statewide Prosecutor's Office will be pursuing the charges against Lopez and his co-defendants. In many cases where crimes were committed in several counties, the Statewide Office will handle the prosecution, especially in high-profile cases, such as this one. Along with Lopez, several other individuals were arrested for their involvement in the burglary ring. Three of the defendants are Miami residents, while one of defendants is a Georgia resident. All of the defendants except one are in custody.

The allegations against the defendants mirror the crimes committed by the "Dinner Set Gang" that stole millions of dollars in worth of jewelry and personal items back in the 1960's. Since the 60's there have many imitators of the dinner set operation. In 2007, teenagers committed numerous burglaries in the Boynton and Delray Beach area.

The arrest affidavit charging Lopez and his relatives alleges that Jose Lorenzo, Silvia Ordonez, Emery Lorenzo, and Michael Chala burglarized the homes, stole expensive jewelry and sold the goods to Lopez who owned the North Miami Beach Apawen shop, "Gold for Less". Other jewelry was sold to Swiss jewelers, as well as to other jewelers located in the South Florida area. Lopez sold other items to Lazaro Teneiro who would allegedly take the jewelry back to his home in Georgia and sell it on Ebay.

Court documents allege that the defendants would go out on weekends and commit the burglaries. They had a fairly sophisticated operation. Surveillance footage revealed the burglars using masks and two-way radios. The victims suffered losses ranging from almost a million dollars to $100,000. The burglaries are reported to have occurred between June 13, 2009 and February 5, 2010. The majority of the defendants provided statements to law enforcement. As is the case in most burglary rings, law enforcement make one case against the defendants and upon their arrests, they admit to several others.

Police Arrest Six People in Burglary Ring, The Miami Herald.com, June 21, 2010.
Categories: Money Laundering