robbers targeting asian families in new jersey

An alert to Asian American families in the Tri-State area... Police have been alerting community members of recent burglaries targeting Asian households, perpetrated by an organized group of burglars using popular internet search databases to retrieve information about their victims. Here's a letter from the Parsippany-Troy Hills police department, sent to a local Chinese church last month:
The Parsippany Police Department wants you to be aware of recent burglaries occurring in town whereupon Asian victims have been targeted by an organized group of burglars.

It is believed that the burglars use popular internet search databases such as "Zaba," "Anywho" and "AT&T" to retrieve the addresses and phone numbers of Asian Americans with common last names.

Once the suspect has the victim's name and address, they phone the home to see if anyone is there. If there is no answer, the burglars start traveling to the victim's home. Once they arrive, they phone again. If there is still no answer, they knock at the door. If there is no answer at the door, they break in. Once inside the home, the burglars usually target the master bedroom in order to steal jewelry.

These suspects are believed to travel in rented vehicles commonly used by limosuine companies such as Lincoln Towncars. The drivers are usally dressed in suits and the burglars are in the backseat so that they appear to be passengers.

The Parsippany Police Department is urging you to safely store your valuables in a safe deposit box or someplace not easily accessed. Valuables should not be located in bedrooms! Also, be aware of hang up calls coming from Queens, NY or those that display on the Caller ID as "Private." If possible, write down the number of the incoming call. Also, please make every attempt to remove your information from availabity on public search engines. Finally, please be aware of suspicious vehicles in your area. If a vehicle, particularly livery cabs, seem to be traveling slowly through the neighborhood or loitering in the area, do not hesitate to phone the Parsippany Police Department or your town's police department by dialing "9-1-1." Try to give as much information as possible including the vehicle's description, a license plate number, and a description of the occupants, if possible. Do not approach suspect vehicles yourself!

The Parsippany Police Department also conducts free home security surveys for residents of the township. A member of the Crime Prevention Unit will conduct an assessment of your home or business and make proper recommendations to increase security.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 973-263-4383.

Thank you.


Very truly yours,

Sgt. Yvonne Christiano
Community Relations Unit
From the letter, you can tell this is a fairly well-coordinated operation. And though this particular letter describes what's happening in Parsippany, the initial phone calls are coming from as far as Queens, which means this could happen in other New Jersey towns, as well as the whole Tri-State area -- basically, wherever Asian families live. So spread the word and be alert. (Thanks, Emily.)

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