A crew of 16 individuals has been indicted on multiple charges in connection with armed robberies targeting Asian-owned jewelry stores across four Eastern states.
The allegations: The suspects are accused of robbing stores in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia between January 2022 and January 2023. However, their operations were based in Washington, D.C., authorities said.
The crew allegedly stole more than $1 million worth of jewelry. Some members are also accused in carjackings.
The charges: All 16 suspects are now in custody. They have all been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, while some face additional counts of carjacking, money laundering and using firearms in crimes of violence.
While the robbers targeted Asians, no hate crime charges are being considered. According to prosecutors, the suspects believed that the stores carried a certain kind of gold that was easy to sell.
The big picture: Asians have increasingly become targets of burglaries in recent months. Just this week, Seattle police warned residents of armed teenagers targeting Asian-owned homes in multiple neighborhoods; last month, Delaware police warned residents of South American “crime tourists” who use radios, disguises, lookouts and surveillance to carry out similar attacks in multiple states.