A senior Asian American couple in California lost their life savings in a daytime burglary this week.
The crime, which was caught on cameras, took place in Crocker-Amazon, a diverse neighborhood on the edge of San Francisco next to Daly City.
Surveillance videos show two men forcing their way into the home with a crowbar while the seniors were out on Tuesday morning.
It reportedly took less than 15 minutes for the burglars to steal the couple’s entire life savings.
The couple immigrated to the U.S. from China nearly four decades ago. Since then, they have worked in construction and housekeeping.
“My parents actually grew up really poor in China,” their son, Simon Zhong, told ABC 7. “They actually borrowed money to come over to America and they worked every single day of their life.”
Skeptical of the banking system, Zhong’s parents kept their cash savings in a safe. A velveteen jewelry box containing their wedding set was also emptied.
“They took everything from it [the safe]. That was just heartbreaking when I listen to my dad telling the story,” Zhong added.
A senior law enforcement official reportedly confirmed that Asian American families have become usual targets of burglary. Zhong learned that another home had been broken into prior to his parents’.
Police managed to find a suspect vehicle in Oakland, where other burglaries have been reported. They recovered several items such as old photos, receipts from the wedding jewelry set and Zhong’s calculator from high school.
Unfortunately, the suspects, who are African American, remain at large. “I hate that these guys perpetuate the stereotype of who we think are criminals,” Zhong said.
He set up a GoFundMe page to replace the stolen items (including passports, birth certificates and naturalization documents), cover repairs and help his parents restart their retirement funds — this time in a bank.
“Even after all this my dad said, ‘At least they didn’t take the money we earned today,'” Zhong recalled. “That’s right, even after all this, my dad was able to see the bright side. And yes, he’s retired but he still works for clients who have become close family friends.”
Feature Images via Simon Zhong