Burglars Target Houses With Cultural Loot

Someone is going around Wallingford and Milford, burglarizing houses. The victims, police say, were targeted because of their ethnicity and cultural items kept in their homes.

The victims are of Indian, Asian, and Pakistani descent, according to Wallingford police. The thieves seem to be after cultural jewelry -- including wedding jewelry and 24-karat gold-- and family heirlooms, as well as cash.

Gold prices as of Wednesday were $1,386 an ounce, according to Market Intelligence Center

"Our families have a lot of jewelry so many people think they are very rich but it's a cultural thing you know?" said Wallingford resident and Pakistani-American Dr. Rizwan Shaikh.

He added that many Pakistani-Americans he knows are now taking extra steps to secure their jewelry and heirlooms.

One of his close friends from Middletown was burglarized and lost $35,000 in personal items.

The spree started about six months ago, police said. In each case, the burglars enter unoccupied houses between 6 and 9 p.m.

They’ve struck twice in Wallingford in December, but the crimes are happening in other communities. Most have been in Wallingford and Milford. 

Police in New Jersey are investigating similar burglaries targeting Indian-American and South Asian residents for their jewelry collections, New Jersey Online reports.

In England, police have noticed a rise in jewelry crimes when Asian festivals begin.

''Asian women are a particular target because of the expensive gold jewellery that they wear, often in public as they attend the religious celebrations.,' Ch Insp Nick Davis told BBC Asian Network.
Police warn people to keep valuables in secure locations, make sure that alarm systems are working properly and report suspicious vehicles or suspicious activity.

If you have information as to the identity of these individuals, call Det. Houlihan of the Wallingford Police at 203-294-2844. 

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