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Police want the Asian community to be aware of targeted burglaries in west St. Louis County

A St. Louis County police officer stands guard during a county council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, at the Lawrence K. Roos County Government Building in Clayton. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on January 12 in support of a ceasefire.
Eric Lee
St. Louis Public Radio
The St. Louis County Police Department is warning Asian American businesses and families in west St. Louis County that they are targets for burglaries. County police have received seven burglary reports since the beginning of January.

The St. Louis County Police Department is warning Asian American families and business owners in west county about an uptick in targeted burglaries.

County police have received seven reports since January from business owners and employees who work at Asian businesses of their homes being burglarized.

Officials say the trend raises concerns for the department because it is unusual for the area.

“We want to make sure that we're doing our due diligence,” said Tracy Panus, the department’s public information officer. “We're warning that community specifically that we do have some people in the area who are targeting them at this point, so that they can protect themselves.”

Panus said that every couple of years, groups of people burglarize one part of the county and that if they are not arrested, they move on to another area.

Police suggest Asian businesses and homes are targeted because of the myth that Asians keep large amounts of money in their homes.

“There are misconceptions out there about Asians not trusting banks,” Panus said. “We want to spread the word that that's not the case, and once these individuals target these homes and don't find large amounts of cash there that they're looking for, they'll stop this.”

Police have not made any arrests. Detectives are working with other agencies and sharing information and evidence that they have obtained from the burglaries in their investigations, Panus said.

Police urge people to stay aware of their surroundings by removing large bushes from in front of homes, tell neighbors to watch out for suspicious vehicles and make sure that exterior cameras at home are properly working.

Police also say business owners should pay attention to drivers after leaving their establishments to make sure they’re not being followed home or to banks. If they are being followed, police suggest not driving home but going to a safe place.

Andrea covers race, identity & culture at St. Louis Public Radio.