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3.26.2010

sixty asian businesses targeted in new jersey break-ins

According to authorities in New Jersey, a burglar -- or a group of burglars -- has broken into about 60 Asian businesses in recent months, breaking down a front door or window and snatching cash from the register in almost every case: Police: Burglar targeting Asian businesses, 60 broken into in recent months.

In most cases, the burglar appears to be targeting Chinese restaurants. The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and the sheriff's offices in Bergen and Pasaic counties are collaborating with local police in 14 towns to catch the thief, who has been on a crime spree since late November:
Workers say word of the spree has spread among the eateries.

"All over the place, everyone knows it's at Chinese restaurants," said Joe Wei, a worker at China Express in Fair Lawn, which was burglarized. "It's just kind of bad luck. Maybe the guy thought Chinese restaurants had a lot of cash."

A couple of sushi restaurants, a Korean church, an Asian-owned spa and nail salons also have been targeted, as have some other types of restaurants. When someone broke into three Chinese restaurants in Hackensack in January, a nail salon and a pizzeria were also burglarized, and an Italian restaurant was hit the same night in December that six Asian businesses in Clifton were targeted.
If you or someone you know owns a business in the area, I'd warn you to be vigilant, but I imagine by now, you're probably already fully aware that this has been happening. Hopefully, it's getting some business owners to change things up to become less of a target -- or at least minimize loss:
Some Chinese restaurant workers believe whoever is targeting them may have figured out the eateries keep some cash in the register or that some do not have surveillance cameras. After the break-ins, many workers said their restaurants may buy cameras or gates to roll over plexiglass doors and windows. But employees have mostly tried to figure out how the crimes make sense.

"Maybe they get a little everywhere and they keep doing it," speculated Jason, who works at Golden Palace, one of the Clifton restaurants involved in the spree, and asked that his last name not be published.

It is unclear exactly why burglars are targeting Asian businesses, but police and experts suspect that whoever is involved simply thinks it is easy - a quick in and out.
What I don't get is why authorities are so quick to dismiss the fact that these crimes are "ethnic based." Does that mean they don't think the crimes are ethnically motivated? Still, it's plain to see that the burglaries are targeting Asian businesses, whatever the reason. Sixty Asian-owned businesses. That's a a lot of friggin' break-ins, for sometimes just fifty bucks in the cash register.

The Fair Lawn Police Department, one of the agencies investigating the burglaries, asks anyone with information to call its detective bureau at 201-794-5410 or any local police department.