The FBI warned Asian American business owners in New Jersey to be vigilant as they face an increased risk of being burglarized by sophisticated criminal groups.
There have been an increasing number of reports from Asian business owners over the past three years who have been targeted by “sophisticated criminal enterprises,” according to Supervisory Special Agent Mike Ratta of the FBI field office in Newark.
Ratta pointed out that numerous criminal groups are monitoring Asian American businesses to note their opening and closing routines.
“They may rummage through their cars to determine where they might live, then they would do surveillances at the residence as well,” Ratta told New Jersey 101.5. “They would follow them to and from work and other places. Once they determine a pattern of life and they feel comfortable with knowing when people are coming or going, they would then begin to formulate a plan to burglarize the home.”
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“Oftentimes they’ll have a lookout in the business, they’ll also have lookouts outside of the residence, and then they’ll have individuals in the residence committing the burglary,” he added. “They are doing surveillance of their targets much like law enforcement would do, these are sophisticated criminal enterprises, where they have determined what is the best way to mitigate their chance of being detected.”
Ratta said it is important for the FBI to go public with the information to warn Asian Americans of the potential harm. He expressed hope that the warning encourages the community to stay aware of their surroundings.
According to Ratta, Asian Americans are being targeted because of a belief that they do not utilize traditional banks, opting instead to keep their cash hidden in their residences.
He warned the Asian American community not to keep money under their mattresses. Instead, he suggested community members keep their money in banks, install security systems and purchase license-reader devices to keep track of the license plate numbers of the cars near their homes.
Ratta then urged individuals to report anything suspicious to their local police.