US police arrest 16 people linked to robberies at Indian and Asian jewelry stores

Sixteen members of a central criminal network are in custody for committing numerous violent armed robberies over the past year. These robberies targeted Indian and Asian jewelry stores in four US East Coast states. Federal authorities arrested eight suspects on Wednesday.

On the contrary, the other eight had been detained previously.

This information comes from a statement issued by the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia.

The indictment states that from January 7, 2022 to January 27, 2023, the defendants planned in Washington, DC to commit robberies in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.

They specifically targeted jewelry stores owned by Asian Americans. The charge sheet lists nine “South Asian” jewelry stores targeted by the gang.

Among them, it was possible to identify at least four owned by people of Indian descent. To commit and escape the robberies, the gang wore dark clothing, masks and gloves.

They were armed with a firearm and were using stolen vehicles, according to the press release issued on Wednesday.

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“The defendants targeted small businesses along the East Coast, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry from working families,” said Deputy Director-in-Charge David Sundberg.

“Over the past 20 months, the FBI worked with our partners across state lines to connect defendants to these heists. Today’s indictment is a testament to the strength and commitment of our partnerships to root out crimes. violent,” Sundberg said.

FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge James Dennehy said the suspects engaged in takeover-style armed robberies intended to terrorize and overwhelm store owners and employees.

“We allege that these suspects engaged in takeover-style armed robberies intended to terrorize and overwhelm store owners and employees,” Dennehy said.

“Many of the victims’ businesses are family owned and operated and have lost a large inventory. The alleged violent and reckless actions by the subjects are staggering; they did not think about the people who could have been seriously injured or even killed,” he said.


U.S. Attorney Graves said that with an increasing number of robbery schemes crossing state lines, “collaborative operations like this are critical to holding accountable those who threaten the safety of our communities.”

The news release says search warrants were also executed, resulting in the seizure of multiple weapons and approximately $300,000 from a safe at one of the residences.

The arrested individuals face 19 charges, including conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, which involves interfering with interstate commerce. Under the law, the maximum penalty for robbery under the Hobbs Act is 20 years in prison.

If a firearm is used to aggravate the crime, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, with the possibility of life in prison. A federal judge will decide the final verdict based on sentencing guidelines and other relevant factors.

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(With PTI inputs)

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