Eight people in a burglary crew have been accused of targetting Asian homeowners across several states, prosecutors said.
Rabine Armour, James Hurt and Sherman Glasco of Pennsylvania; Kevin Burton, Kevin Jackson, Thomas Rodgers, Randi Barr and Terrance Black of New Jersey were charged with conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property of over 50 victims, according to U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig. They allegedly targeted Asian victims based on stereotypes, believing victims have large sums of currency and valuable jewelry in their possession.
Investigators said they also discovered notes containing the home addresses of victims with derogatory terms used to describe their ethnicity.
The residential burglaries occurred from December 2016 all the way through March 2019 in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, according to the criminal complaint. The suspects would typically find Asian family-owned businesses, learn the owners' patterns, perform recognizance on their residences and ransack their belongings when no one is home.
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Following a burglary of a home in Newark, Delaware, in May 2018, a victim found a phone that appeared to have been dropped by one of the suspects, the complaint detailed. The phone's records linked it to a residence in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where the suspects allegedly often operated from and where a Dodge Durango sports utility car was parked outside. Investigators were later able to link the car to a January 2019 burglar in Eatontown, New Jersey.
“These defendants allegedly carried out a brazen conspiracy based on stereotype and opportunity,” Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. said in a news release. “It is fitting that these arrests come at a time when society is raising awareness regarding crimes against our Asian-American citizens."
If convicted, the suspects face a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the amount of money involved in the offense.