Texas police have arrested five people in connection with a string of burglaries that appear to have targeted Asian Americans.
The suspects, all from the Houston area, allegedly approached properties dressed as delivery workers, first ensuring that the homes were empty, and stole cash and other valuable items, Plano police department officials said.
Police added that the suspects went to the victims’ homes in the middle of the day and if nobody was home, they cut off the electricity, which turned off surveillance cameras, allowing them to ransack the property.
The suspects were caught after they attempted to break into a home where the residents, who were sleeping, called authorities.
Jennifer Chapman, Plano police department’s public information officer, said that investigators noticed a “pattern” in electricity being cut off before the burglaries took place, which also helped officers to catch the suspects.
“There was a pattern that the detectives and our crime analysts noticed,” Ms Chapman said. “The way that they were cutting the electric boxes was very distinct. That’s something that does not always occur in these types of burglaries.”
She added that the suspects may have targeted Asian Americans due to the tendency of some community members to store large sums of cash or other valuables in their homes.
Ms Chapman said this means burglaries targeting Asian Americans in the area are not uncommon, and the department’s Crime Prevention Unit has been holding meetings with Asian American residents with the aim of helping them better protect themselves and their property for several years.
Juan Pinto-Rodriguez, 32; Luis Tafur-Tovar, 33; Helmer Patino-Calderon, 43; and Jeisson Tafur-Tovar, 29, were arrested on felony charges of engaging in organized criminal activity after a string of thefts that took place across several days, starting on 29 October.
The suspects were being held at the Collin County Jail.
Asian Americans make up more than one-fifth of Pano’s population, according to the Census.