Photo: John Spink/AJC
Photo: John Spink/AJC

Gold thieves targeting Asian, Indian homes; Cobb cops holding forum

Of the 63 burglaries reported to the police precinct that covers East Cobb so far this year, nearly half have had Asian or Indian victims.

That’s according to Cobb police’s Lt. N.A. McCreary, who is holding a forum on the recent spike of crimes targeting these communities on Thursday.

He said that these thieves have been eyed by the FBI for decades.

“Routine burglars will take anything of value. This group takes cash and jewelry exclusively,” McCreary said.

But this certainly isn’t unique to Cobb.

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These thefts happens across North America, from South Carolina to Ottawa and New Jersey to Silicon Valley.

Federal prosecutors charged six people in April 2015 for alleged burglaries targeting Asian and Indian homes in Texas and Michigan.

But it’s not North America alone. The United Kingdom was a hotbed for this type of theft starting in 2011, when gold prices skyrocketed amid a global economic downturn. The Guardian dubbed it “The great Asian gold theft crisis.”

Many in the U.K. were allegedly hit by criminals reportedly from Columbia and Chile.

The BBC reported in December 2017 that the London metropolitan police estimated roughly £50m (or $67 million) worth of jewelry was stolen from homes of South Asian, mostly Indian, residents in London alone during the prior financial year.

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Thieves nabbed tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-quality gold from homes at a time.

Having that amount of gold in your home might sound strange to those not familiar with South Asian and Indian culture.

According to the World Gold Council: People in that region of the world view gold as a sign of status and a savings investment, one that is passed down through the generations, especially to women during weddings.

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It has been reported that, as the saying goes in India: “No gold, no wedding.”

During the time around the Diwali festival, giving gold is seen as particularly auspicious. Business Insider reports that India has the largest private gold holdings in the world at an estimated 24,000 tons.

For those interested, the Cobb police forum starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in the East Cobb Senior Center, 3332 Sandy Plains Road in Marietta.

The cops will provide statistics and tips to decrease the chance of becoming a victim of these burglaries.

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