South Asian residents on alert after string of burglaries

December 20, 2010 3:05:41 PM PST
There is an intense search for an international burglary gang targeting homes in the New York area.

So far they've hit more than a dozen homes looking for gold.

All the victims hit by the gang are South Asian.

The burglars have targeted homes in Greenburgh in Westchester County, and in Stamford, Connecticut.

"I know of at least four homes they are putting in cameras right now. And night vision cameras too," said Prakash Shah.

Shah says 25-to-30 Indian families in the town of Greenburgh have been burglarized in the last three years. The most recent was two homes last week.

The string of burglaries prompted an emergency meeting Saturday with town leaders.

Supervisor Paul Feiner told Eyewitness News who's responsible for the crimes.

"Colombian gangs are breaking into homes of people with Indian last names. They feel the people have money," said Feiner.

More specifically, jewelry, say police in Stamford.

"Particularly what's known as wedding jewelry. It's very ornate, expensive 22-karat gold jewelry that's kept for ceremonial purposes, not worn everyday. They believe they're going to find that within the residence," said Sgt. Peter Dispagna.

Sgt. Dispagna told Eyewitness News the thieves targeted seven Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi homes in Stamford in the past year, the most recent burglary happened nine days ago.

Back in Greenburgh, police have stepped up patrols in the Edgemont section of town, home to a sizable Indian community.

Business owner Jagdish Mitter said many of his friends feel just like the most recent victim.

"He's very nervous. They don't feel like going home to their own home. They think whenever they go home they feel like somebody is in the home," he said.

Greenburgh police have advised residents to always activate their alarm systems; to clear out their piles of mail and newspapers; and to notify police of any suspicious vehicles.

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