Pa. State Police report increase in home burglaries targeting Asian-American restaurant owners

Pennsylvania State Police say they are seeing an increase in home burglaries targeting Asian-American restaurant owners statewide.

"This year has seen an uptick in these types of burglaries beginning in the Northeastern part of the state, and now it is spreading through the entire commonwealth," Public Information Officer for Pennsylvania State Police.

So far this year, statewide, police estimate at least $1 million stolen in cash and personal property, like jewelry, from Asian-Americans’ homes.

Police say thieves are following victims from work, disguising themselves with yellow safety vests or posing as landscapers, and working as teams with at least one person going into the home, while the other waits in a getaway car.


"These burglars are using basically anything that they have in their disposal, whether that’s gathering identifications through registrations, using trackers on vehicles to actually be following restaurant owners to their residences," Corporal Miller said.

Philadelphia City Councilmember David Oh believes surges of crimes like this comes and goes.

"Unfortunately it’s been going on for a very long time," Oh said.

Police believe the thieves are operating under the stereotype that Asian-Americans carry or keep large amounts of cash and may not cooperate with police.

"When it comes to a stereotype that someone is vulnerable and susceptible that typically leads to crime," said Oh, who fears, like most crimes, it could escalate.

"Often times things go wrong and someone who is perpetrating crime ends up hurting someone or killing someone and they end up paying a price that they weren’t ready to pay."

State police are asking owners to be extra vigilant, consider installing additional security measures such as video surveillance, and to report any crimes or suspicious behavior to local police.