Amit Kachru and his wife left their Maple Grove home to attend a friend’s surprise party only to return at 1 a.m. to a surprise of their own: a shattered glass deck door, a ransacked home, and about $30,000 worth of cash and jewelry stolen.
It’s one of about eight burglaries within two months targeting Maple Grove residents when they aren’t home, particularly residents of Asian heritage, for their jewelry — a trend that police say reflects metrowide and nationwide crime sprees.
“There’s other cities that have seen the same MO as ours,” Maple Grove Police Capt. Keith Terlinden said of crimes targeting minority populations with traditions tied to jewelry. “It’s even a national trend in burglaries.”
That’s unnerving to Maple Grove residents like Kachru, who said that seven out of the eight homes hit by the burglar or burglars were residents of Asian heritage.
“He’s watching the house and knows who goes in and out,” Kachru said.
Police stepped up patrols and issued a crime alert to the community last week. No one has been hurt in the break-ins, Terlinden said, because the incidents have all happened when no one is home. He said that police are following up on leads, but that they haven’t identified a suspect or suspects yet.
Police advise residents to keep lights on timers or turn on a TV while they’re gone to give the impression someone is home to deter break-ins. Residents also should list serial numbers of items or photograph jewelry to keep a record of personal items.
Kachru, who moved to the Edgewater neighborhood of Maple Grove a year ago, said he doesn’t expect to ever see the thousands of dollars worth of jewelry again. The loss included gold rings, watches, sunglasses and a necklace he had given his wife for their wedding.
The burglar, he added, isn’t just outsmarting police and residents, he’s outsmarting security systems. Kachru’s own motion sensors and home security system either failed to work during the break-in two weeks ago, or the suspect or suspects avoided setting it off.
“Is he a trapeze artist or Superman? He’s able to get away [every time],” Kachru said. “This guy is pretty smart.”
Kachru and his wife want to see a greater presence and more communication from police, and they also hope to help increase awareness about the crime spree by sharing their story.
“I didn’t think when I moved to Maple Grove it was a high-crime area,” he said. “But there’s too many [burglaries] too fast.”