Security measures urged amid series of home break-ins targeting South Asian community

Police in Weston and other Massachusetts communities are warning the public about organized burglaries targeting people of Indian and South Asian descent, with a focus on second-floor windows, which are often not attached to sensors

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The Weston Police Department is the latest in Massachusetts to warn people about a series of organized home break-ins targeting members of the South Asian community.

According to Weston Police Chief Denis Linehan, the commonalities between these break-ins are consistent with an international crime group that police know is responsible for these types of cases throughout the nation.



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Linehan explained that two weeks ago, the department held a conference with dozens of regional and federal partners, including the FBI, to discuss how and why these criminals continue to target certain homes.

"We're seeing that they're targeting the second floor, because they know that there usually are not sensors in those locations, and for the most part, they're going into master bedrooms," he told NBC10 Boston Wednesday.

The following have been identified as the criminals' MO:

  • Targeting people of South Asian descent
  • Happening in the early evening
  • Second-floor entry
  • Crowbar and collapsible ladder used to gain entry
  • Sometimes posing as Amazon delivery workers
  • Vehicles with out-of-state license plates

Priti Saini, a Weston homeowner, is one of those targeted in the scheme.

"They just went up on top of that ceiling and they just unhinged that window," she explained, pointing to the second floor.

Saini said her home was broken into in May while the family was on a weekend trip to Seattle. She added that she was aware of the ongoing issue, and even took precautions to lock up.

"We had our alarm system on, we told our neighbors that we were gone," she explained. "And then when we went upstairs. It was all upside-down — and we could not believe it."

Police in several Massachusetts communities are investigating a string of home break-ins, with all the victims being of Indian and South Asian descent.

Saini said the burglar discovered their hidden, secured valuables.

"They managed to find our safe, which was hidden in an attic," she said. "And they just took the whole thing."

Many in the Indian and South Asian community have come together to address the issue.

Weston resident Rahul Khanna said Wednesday that he's been organizing group meetings for the past few months, with about 110 families showing interest.

"It's that sense of insecurity that people have, that they really don't know what they're walking into," he explained.

In one instance, Khanna told NBC10 Boston that another family's heavy safe was stolen.

"They lifted a 300-pound safe that was screwed into the wall, and they were able to get away with that," he said.

Authorities said that break-ins in Sudbury are pretty rare, but there is an increase going on in the region.

"We're encouraging our folks to put sensors on the second floor, if they do have an alarm system," Linehan said. "If they don't have an alarm system, we're encouraging them to get an alarm system, and when installing it, making sure there are sensors on the secondary levels of the house."

He said additional precautions should be taken before going on vacation.

"If they're leaving for any period of time, that they take their valuables and they either place them in a bank, they put them somewhere else, or they even put them in another section of the residence where there are sensors," he said.

For targeted residents like Saini, the solution stems from more money and resources being devoted into investigating and arresting these criminals.

"We are very anxious to get this to a closure," she said.

Investigators are also looking into similar crimes in Billerica, Easton, Lincoln, Natick, North Attleboro, Sudbury, Weston and Wellesley.

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