🚨 Opportunistic thieves are targeting Asian Americans, particularly small business owners

👮‍♀️ Officials say Asian Americans are more likely to view banks with skepticism, which can be a problem

The FBI is warning members of one specific ethnic group in New Jersey they face an increased risk of being burglarized.

Supervisory Special Agent Mike Ratta of the FBI field office in Newark said there have been a growing number of reports over the past three years of Asian-American business owners in the Garden State being targeted by sophisticated criminal groups.

He said these criminals are carefully watching these businesses to determine “when they open, when they close."

"They may rummage through their cars to determine where they might live, then they would do surveillances at the residence as well," he said. "They would follow them to and from work and other places.”

“Once they determine a pattern of life and they felt comfortable with knowing when people are coming or going, they would then begin to formulate a plan to burglarize the home," he said.

They know what they’re doing

Ratta pointed out this is not a rag-tag group of crooks.

“Oftentimes they’ll have a lookout in the business, they’ll also have lookouts outside of the residence, and then they’ll have individuals in the residence committing the burglary,” he said.

“They are doing surveillance of their targets much like law enforcement would do. These are sophisticated criminal enterprises, where they have determined what is the best way to mitigate their chance of being detected.”

Going to Jail

He said the FBI believes there are numerous criminal groups committing these crimes, not one particular enterprise.

Why is the FBI going public with this information?

“We think it’s very, very important to get the word out to the community to let them know that there’s potential for this to occur to them," he said

Why are Asian Americans being targeted?

Special Agent Ratta said “there’s been a belief that the Asian community keeps cash in their homes and that they’re not utilizing traditional banks, and instead they keep their money in their residence.”

He recommends members of the Asian-American community stay aware of their surroundings and try to determine if they’re being followed.

Don't keep money under the mattress

He also said they should consider keeping money and valuables in a bank.

License-reader devices can be purchased to keep track of the license plate numbers on cars near their homes.

They also should install a security system and report anything odd or suspicious to local police who can then notify the FBI.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

Cape May, NJ: 15 wonderful places to visit

New Jersey's smallest towns by population

New Jersey's least populated municipalities, according to the 2020 Census. This list excludes Pine Valley, which would have been the third-smallest with 21 residents but voted to merge into Pine Hill at the start of 2022.

9 of the nation’s most miserable cities are in New Jersey

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM