The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) are urging Asian American restaurant owners to take preventive measures after over a million dollars in cash and property were stolen in a series of residential burglaries.
Officials are investigating the burglaries, which are believed to have been carried out by three or four people. The burglars have specifically targeted the homes of Asian American families who own Chinese restaurants throughout the state.
“While many of these crimes occurred in the northeastern part of the state, similar burglaries have been reported across the commonwealth. We want business owners to be aware of this trend and take preventive measures,” Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the PSP, wrote in a press release.
NextShark reported last month that nearly two dozen homes belonging to Asian business owners in the state have fallen victim to a theft ring since the beginning of the year.
Police believe that the burglars operate as a team. One person is believed to act as a lookout while one or two other individuals enter the homes to steal cash and jewelry. Another individual is also believed to be waiting in a getaway car.
According to investigators, the burglars observe the houses they target to determine when they will be unoccupied. They often disguise themselves by wearing yellow safety vests or posing as landscapers. The team then usually carries out the burglary in under 30 minutes.
The burglars would reportedly obtain the restaurant owners’ addresses by breaking into their vehicles for their registration cards, installing makeshift tracking devices on their cars or following them home from work.
The PSP suggested business owners take extra precaution by securing cash and valuables in their homes and installing motion sensor lights, surveillance cameras and alarm systems. Authorities also reminded owners to be aware of anyone who might be following them home and to make sure their vehicles are locked while they are at work.
Last year, federal prosecutors indicted eight people who allegedly operated a residential burglary ring that targeted Asian family-owned restaurants. Prosecutors said that the group performed multiple home burglaries in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
Featured Image via Matt Popovich