This week in New Jersey, law enforcement officials held a forum to address public concern about a rash of home invasion robberies that have targeted Middlesex County's Indian American community.
Quiet Middlesex communities on edge as police say home invasions were crimes of opportunity
In the last month there have two home invasions in Old Bridge, one in South Plainfield and one in Edison. At least two people were injured, and all of the homes targeted were from the Indian community. However, investigators are not yet ready to categorize the robberies as "bias crimes."
Some basic facts about the home invasions:
Q. Have Asian Indians been targeted?
A. Asian Indians appear to have been targeted for the home invasions, which occurred in Old Bridge, South Plainfield and Edison. But the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will not say whether the crimes are being committed by the same group. Peter Kothari, a community activist in Middlesex County, says that stereotypes might be playing a role in the crimes. Edison Councilwoman Sapana Shah, a resident of North Edison, said that if burglars are indeed targeting the Indian community, they should be prosecuted under hate crime statutes.
Q. Are there descriptions of the suspects?
A. Police have not released descriptions of the suspects, who wore ski-type masks in at least two of the home invasions. Police have said that the suspects did not allow the victims to look at them.
Q. Has anyone been hurt?
A. At least two people were assaulted in two of the home invasions. One person was hospitalized briefly.
There is a cash reward available to anyone who can help in the investigation. Tipsters are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-939-9600, or access the Crime Stoppers website at middlesextips.com. Text messages with information may also be sent to 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword "midtip" followed by a message.
More here: Middlesex County home invasions: What we know so far