Chilean President Gabriel Boric smiles during his visit to the CERN in Meyrin near Geneva on July 19, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Chilean police are investigating the robbery of computers and a safe from a government ministry caught up in a corruption probe, captivating national attention and adding to President Gabriel Boric's woes.

Late Wednesday, security guards at the Social Development Ministry received a phone call from a person claiming to be Minister Giorgio Jackson, who said his nephews were en route to pick up computers, according to police. Those workers became suspicious when the caller impersonating Jackson made contact again to say his nephews were also going to withdraw a safe and fumigate the premises.

The thieves ended up stealing 23 computers and one safe from the building, which is just blocks away from the presidential palace and numerous police stations in downtown Santiago. The safe was used to store documents including information regarding direct contacts between the ministry and other institutions, radio station Bio Bio reported.

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Authorities are scrutinizing ties between the government and foundations as Jackson's party faces graft allegations over payments to an association in exchange for consulting work in areas where it has little experience. The minister is one of Boric's closest allies and, while the president has tried to distance himself from the scandal, polls show it's fanning public scrutiny and drawing attention from the government's agenda.

In televised remarks, Jackson said the heist was "suspicious" and may be "a political signal." Government spokesperson Camila Vallejo said it doesn't appear to be an "ordinary" crime. Opposition members and some within government parties called for Jackson's resignation.

"They want to play around with the intelligence of the Chilean people. Thieves seek jewels, money, etc. and not safes with documents," Fidel Espinoza, a senator with the allied Partido Socialista, wrote on Twitter.