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US robbers target Indian homes for gold

Police in United States have found a disturbing trend of Indian-American homes being targeted by burglars for gold, which guarantees the robbers of assured money rather than traditional electronic items.

Since high quality gold jewellery — at least of 22 carats in general and 24 carats in particular — is mostly found in homes of Indians in particular and South Asians in general due to cultural values, police say the robbers have increasingly started identifying and targeting such homes, a media report said.

The Washington Post said several such cases in neighbourhoods in and around Washington which has sizeable Indian population reporting incidents of burglars breaking into Indian homes and running away with anything gold.

“The burglars are discerning. They have taken 22-karat pieces but left behind sterling silver and well-crafted costume jewellery. They have sifted through floor-length gowns

lovingly stored in closets and plucked every custom-made sari threaded with gold and worth thousands, disdaining saris worth only hundreds,” the report said.

“Officers in Fairfax and Loudon counties, and the homeowners themselves, have yet to figure out how the burglars so successfully identify houses with large gold caches. Before they became victims, many of the families were strangers, and they and police have eliminated many of the obvious links: churches, temples, schools or even grocery stores where they could have been tracked,” it said.

This past Thursday at least three such cases were reported in a South Riding neighborhood of Loudoun. Burglars broke down six Indian homes in Fair in Fairfax and another 16 burglaries between January and August have been reported in Reston, Centreville and Fair Oaks, the daily said.

Noting that this is a nationwide trend, not restricted to Greater Washington Metropolitan Area, it said unsolved crimes mirror a pattern of 93 burglaries in Houston, 37 in central Illinois and a handful outside St. Paul, Minnesota.

“There is targeting due to gold prices. That’s how we are talking about it, rather than ethnicity,” Fairfax police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings was quoted as saying.

“Fairfax residents have grown increasingly angry and fearful about the crimes, complaining that police were slow to recognise the trend,” The Washington Post said.

Raman Kumar, whose house was broken through recently, told the paper that thieves took away with them a gold statue of Lakshmi; while left other electronic items including laptop. “But here is the thing: If you know our customs, you know we carry a lot of gold,” he was quoted as saying.

The daily also said that thieves operate with a notable precision, not only in choosing houses but also on sorting the take.

“Vindhya Kommineni lost her most expensive saris made for her wedding, her wedding rings and a sterling dinner set that included gold inlay as part of an October 6 burglary that was one of two that day on a block in Fair Oaks. Not all of her gowns were taken, nor were all of her silver utensils,” the daily said.

October 19, 2009 - Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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