Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's luxury neighborhood targeted by sophisticated Bling Ring-style criminal gang | The Sun

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle's Californian hometown has been targeted by "sophisticated out-of-the-area theft gangs" specializing in high-value property crime.

To combat the menace, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department is installing six license plate recognition cameras around celeb hotspot Montecito, where the Duke and Duchess live in a $14million mansion – plus a further 19 in the area.

Stars who live in the area include under-fire Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and his family; Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, and their daughter; Ellen DeGeneres, Ariana Grande, Rob Lowe, music guru Scooter Braun, and Friends legend, Jennifer Aniston.

The Montecito Association emailed locals, including Harry and Meghan, saying that the cameras would be installed "in response to the high-value property crime we've experienced recently."

The warning added: "These crimes are being committed by sophisticated out-of-the-area theft gangs."

The purpose of the solar-powered cameras, which cost $2,500 each, is to see who was in the area when a crime is reported to have taken place.

They will also assist with missing person searches, active warrants, stolen vehicles, and other investigations as part of a year-long trial.

The high-tech cameras can identify a vehicle's make, model, and color and even recognize if the car has any dents or damage.

They will not be used for facial recognition and can't identify individuals. The cameras also cannot be used for traffic enforcement.

The data they collect will be stored for 30 days, after which the info is automatically deleted and cannot be accessed by law enforcement.

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Craig Bonner, undersheriff for Santa Barbara County, told an online meeting of locals: "We've had some problems with professional burglars coming into the Montecito community.

"We want these cameras up and running as quickly as possible to capture these folks as they come and go from the area.

"They have a proven ability to aid investigators effectively solve crimes by providing leads on vehicles that were in an area when a crime is committed.

"They help speed up investigations, and they are a force multiplier; they're out there working 24/7, rain or shine.

"It does not involve facial recognition, and the data will be deleted after 30 days unless it is part of an investigation.”

The Sun revealed in July that cops were alerted to two intruder scares at Harry and Meghan’s mansion in just 12 days.

The couple and their two children – Archie, three, and one-year-old Lilibet – were believed to have been at their Montecito home when the alarms were triggered.

Santa Barbara Police records showed cops raced to the home on Harry and Meghan’s wedding anniversary, May 19, at 5.44pm to a trespasser report.

They answered a second intruder alert on May 31 at 3.21pm — just hours before the couple caught a private jet back to Britain for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Last year The Sun also revealed how a trespasser arrested on the grounds of the nine-bedroom property had previously been convicted of an attack that left a man with a broken bone in his face.

Nickolas Brooks admitted that he may have been “high” when he was caught after intruding on the property on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas in 2020.

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In July, Harry was granted permission to bring a case in the UK’s High Court against the government over his security arrangements.

He later filed a second lawsuit challenging the decision not to let him pay for his own security after he and Meghan decided to step down as working members of the royal family.

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