Multiple police departments in the Cincinnati Tri-State area are reportedly investigating a surge in home burglary cases targeting Asian restaurant owners.
Affected areas include Montgomery, Blue Ash, West Chester, Milford and Indian Hill in Greater Cincinnati, as well as Villa Hills in Kentucky, as per WLWT.
The break-ins, some of which date back to early 2021, reportedly occurred at night “while the restaurant owners were still at work.”
Suspects allegedly took cash, credit cards, guns, computers, jewelry and designer items such as watches, handbags and clothing.
Police said the victims were likely targeted due to their ethnicity, with perpetrators taking advantage of language barriers and cultural differences. Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian homes were reportedly the primary targets.
In one case, which took place in Blue Ash around 10 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2021, neighbors called police to report multiple people breaking into a home whose owners “do not speak much English,” WXIX reported.
Six days later, a burglar alarm at a home in Montgomery sounded after suspects broke through glass on the property’s patio. Despite the evidence of attempted forced entry, police confirmed that the suspects were unable to get in, according to WCPO.
Leo Chan, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce, has worked with some of the victims and has issued warnings to Asian American communities in the area.
“A lot of them did tell me they felt that they were being targeted. Not necessarily immediately could they tell you what happened, but days after they’d say, ‘Yeah, there was some suspicious following now that I think back on it,’” Chan told WKRC. “Otherwise, in most cases, people were just for too long of a time were feeling too comfortable with the security that our community has provided.”
The Montgomery Police Department continues to lead the investigation, reports WLWT, and believes there are likely more victims.
Featured Image via WXIX