Burglars target specific ethnic groups in Johnson County - KCTV5

Burglars target specific ethnic groups in Johnson County

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JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

Burglars are hitting homes in three Johnson County cities: Lenexa, Overland Park and Olathe, targeting one particular group.

Overland Park is the city hardest hit and the group targeted is the East Asian, mostly East Indian community.

Burglaries are usually random, so the recent incidents are a pretty disturbing pattern, and dozens of people came out to the Overland Park Police Department Thursday night to see how they can help stop it.

The room filled up quickly, with about 90 new allies, 90 sets of eyes and ears teaming up with police. They're scared and they want answers.

"We are all concerned, No. one, and No. two we want to help police to catch the bad guys," said Venkat Manda, one of the organizers.

Overland Park Police say over the past couple months close to a dozen homes have been burglarized in the targeted area where the homeowners were East Asian, most often East Indian.

One of the couples that was burglarized spoke to KCTV5 with their identities concealed: "We came in and my son noticed that the backyard door, the patio door, the glass door, was broken."

That's part of the pattern. Police say the burglars often ring the bell to be sure no one's home, then smash glass to get in, and ransack looking for valuables they can grab quickly, like jewelry.

Investigators believe the cases are all connected, and that the burglars have in-depth knowledge of the community they're targeting.

"The whole community is kind of scared to stay inside the house, and go outside the house because we don't know what's happening," one victim said.

Police reminded people to keep lights on to appear that you're home, be alert, talk to their neighbors and call police when anything seems suspicious.

"We are your police department, we exist to take care of you and your needs, there is no other thing that we do, that's what we do," said Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass. "If you need us, and even if you just think you need us, call us."

Police say it's important to call 911 right away, when you want to report something, like if your doorbell rings and there's no one there, that can be one of the warning signs.

Investigators don't have any formal suspects, but they say they have possibilities of people they think may be involved. They have increased patrols in the areas of south Overland Park, Olathe and Lenexa that are being targeted.

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