VESTAL, NY – The Vestal Police Department is warning the community of a “crime trend” that recently took place in Broome County.

Last Friday, Vestal Police responded to a residential burglary that was interrupted when the homeowner came home to find 3 masked men in her house.

The suspects ran to a car and fled.

The owner and her family owned a local Asian restaurant, making this the 5th burglary of an Asian restaurant owner’s residence in Vestal since July of last year.

Police say this crime trend has been present in areas of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and has occured in a number of New York Counties.

The suspects all have similar characteristics including:

  • suspects are often described as Hispanic
  • suspects are often reported to speak Spanish.
  • it is believed that the suspects select the restaurants by utilizing the internet and then conduct surveillance on the business to determine the owner’s residence.
  • they may follow the owners’ home to determine their address.
  • they may enter cars at the business hoping to find personal paperwork that includes a home address.
  • in some cases, they have been known to attach a GPS device to the business owner’s vehicle in order to track them to their house.
  • burglaries occur during the day while the owners are at work.
  • the suspects usually enter through a rear door or window, sometimes even on the second floor.
  • a vehicle will drive around and/or park in the neighborhood waiting for the suspects.
  • the vehicle often has out-of-state license plates.
  • suspects may pose as utility workers, food delivery persons or anything to make them appear to fit in and they will usually knock or ring the doorbell to see if the home is occupied.
  • if they find someone at home they might ask for someone by name who does not live there or offer another excuse to be at the door.
  • the suspects are believed to be from outside of the area.

Vestal Police say that some things you can do for your safety include being aware of your surroundings, taking notes of suspicious people, reporting any unusual activity, not keeping large amounts of cash or jewelry at home, updating your alarm system, locking doors and windows and not hiding a spare key, locking vehicles and knowing your neighbors.

Please contact the Vestal Police with any additional information: (607) 754-2477.