Burglary ring targeting Asian restaurant owners around Pennsylvania

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

Asian American restaurant owners around Pennsylvania are being targeted by burglars, according to state police. 

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a series of residential burglaries of Asian restaurant owners that have netted thieves nearly $1 million in cash and personal property. 

"While many of these crimes occurred in the northeastern part of the state, similar burglaries have been reported across the commonwealth," stated Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. "We want business owners to be aware of this trend and take preventive measures." 

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Those perpetrating the break-ins appear to be operating as a team, police said, with one person acting as a lookout while others enter the home to steal cash and jewelry. Another suspect waits in a getaway car. 

Investigators suspect the burglars watch the houses they target and observe activity patterns of residents to determine when the home will be unoccupied, police said. They usually disguise themselves, sometimes by wearing yellow safety vests or posing as landscapers. The burglaries are carried out quickly, with the actors in the residence for 30 minutes or less. 

In many of those cases, the suspects learned where restaurant owners lived by entering their cars for registration cards, installing makeshift tracking devices on their vehicles or following them home from work. 

This is not the first time that Asian restaurant owners have been targeted by burglars. Last year, federal prosecutors indicted eight people who ran a burglary ring that targeted Asian restaurant owners. Prosecutors allege the group carried out multiple home burglaries in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. 

The Pennsylvania State Police offers these preventive measures for those who may be targeted: 

  • Secure cash and valuables in your home. 
  • Be aware of individuals and vehicles in your neighborhood that aren't usually there. 
  • Install motion sensor lights around your home. 
  • Consider having surveillance cameras and an alarm system installed. 
  • Keep your vehicle locked while at work and secure registration information. 
  • Be aware of anyone who might be following you home. 
  • Report suspicious activity to your local police department.