- According to the indictment, between Jan. 7, 2022, through Jan. 27, 2023, the defendants conspired in the District of Columbia to commit burglaries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida.
More than a dozen alleged members of a crime ring have been charged with multiple violent armed robberies targeting Indian and other Asian jewelry stores across the East Coast in one year, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The gang also committed multiple armed carjackings as well as money laundering and firearms offenses, the press release said.
While eight defendants were arrested on Aug. 30, the remaining defendants were previously arrested. Charges include conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce (known as Hobbs Act) robbery, interference with interstate commerce by robbery, using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, conspiracy to commit carjacking, and conspiracy to engage in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
According to the indictment, between Jan. 7, 2022, through Jan. 27, 2023, the defendants conspired in the District of Columbia to commit robberies in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. The robberies targeted jewelry stores. They include Yasini Jewelers, E. Falls Church, Virginia (Jan. 7, 2022); Virani Jewelers, Iselin, New Jersey (June 10, 2022); Sonia Jewelers & Boutique, Springfield, Virginia (Sept. 20, 2022); Paradise Jewelry Store, Paterson, New Jersey (Oct. 22, 2022); Baral Jewelers & Gifts, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Nov. 10, 2022); Sara Emporium Jewelry & Boutique, Springfield, Virginia (Nov. 27, 2022); Kishek Jewelers, Jacksonville, Florida (Dec. 6, 2022); Chintamanis Inc., Franklin Park, New Jersey (Dec. 22, 2022); and Princess Diamonds, Falls Church, Virginia (Jan. 27, 2023).
Meanwhile, in Washington state, the Seattle Police Department has issued a warning about a recent uptick in home robberies invading south Seattle neighborhoods, predominantly targeting Asian households, local media reported earlier this week. Speaking at a press conference on Aug. 29, Seattle Police Detective Judinna Gulpan said 14 14 reported incidents targeting Asian homes in south Seattle have been reported since June. Most of these robberies were armed.
“They’re going after people they think are easy targets,” said SPD Sergeant Lt. John O’Neil. Police suspect the same group of three to seven people to have been robbing people outside or inside their homes of their money and valuables. However, they do not believe these incidents to be hate crimes. “We want to emphasize that we are not considering these hate crimes,” O’Neil said. “They’re targeting vulnerable adults in our community.”