Authorities in Torrance, California are notifying residents about the modus operandi of burglars reportedly posing as gardeners and landscape workers to target Asian American business owners.
A community warning: According to Torrance Police Department (TPD) representative Sgt. Mark Ponegalek, several burglaries have recently victimized residents of Asian descent in gated communities of the city’s central and eastern areas, reported ABC7.
- The suspects, a group of three to four individuals, have been pretending to be gardeners or landscape workers to prey on victims who have businesses outside the city.
- The TPD believes the group used late-model minivans and SUVs to follow the victims from work to their homes, where they likely kept large amounts of money.
In recent weeks, multiple residential burglary incidents sharing key elements have been reported to us.
TPD is making available the following info to assist residents in becoming aware of suspicious individuals & activity pic.twitter.com/ophkpyYcR0
— Torrance Police (@TorrancePD) December 2, 2021
- On Thursday, the TPD released two images sourced from CCTV footage that showed two suspects wearing safety vests and wide-brimmed hats.
- Torrance residents were urged to be on the lookout for suspicious-looking individuals who might come knocking on their doors pretending to be “gardeners…food delivery, couriers” as well as disguised “subjects wearing reflective vests, subjects carrying clipboards, subjects carrying ladders, [and] individuals knocking on a door(s) asking for someone by name who does not live there.”
- “Be aware of vehicles that pull in right after residents have entered the security gates,” Ponegalek was quoted as saying. “If something or someone causes you to believe criminal activity has or is about to take place, call 911.”
Trend of burglaries: Robberies targeting Asian victims across the U.S. have been a trend over the last year.
- A group of suspects in North Carolina broke into at least 22 Asian restaurants across the state from January to September of this year.
- A San Francisco man was charged with seven felony counts for robberies and attempted robberies of Asian women in March.
- Five burglaries in July in Newton, Massachusetts, all had Asian victims.
- In September, three men were charged for a series of robberies that targeted over 70 Asian women in the Bay Area.
- On Nov. 24, the Los Angeles Police Department announced the launch of the “Follow Home Task Force,” which involves 20 investigators monitoring the “ongoing crime trend of follow-home robberies.”
LAPD HQ on Twitter: “Due to an ongoing trend of follow home robberies, Chief Moore has directed the immediate institution of the Follow Home Task Force, comprised of approximately 20 Detectives. Any info call the LAPD Follow Home Task Force at (213) 486-6840 or email [email protected]”
Featured Image via Torrance PD