GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Upstate law enforcement and the FBI are looking for criminals targeting Asian and Indian business owners. The two most recent cases happened less than a week ago.
Serving Indian vegetarian dishes to hungry Greenville customers has kept the Parikh’s ‘Swad Restaurant’ in business for over two decades, and the owners say they were shocked to become victims of a home burglary.
“Everybody likes our food,” said owner Daksha Parikh. “It’s homemade, family. People feel it’s like home.”
When Daksha Parikh returned to her own home last month, she and her husband, Anil, were shocked to find it ransacked, with her jewelry and cash gone.
“That hurt me. Whatever the cash – they took it,” she said.
The Parikhs were not the only victims with a similar story, according to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
“There has been a trend of recent burglaries to homes involving the Asian and Indian community,” said Sheriff Will Lewis at a Thursday press conference. “They are all business owners.”
Sheriff Lewis says criminals are stealing cash and jewelry from the homes of Asian and Indian business owners while they’re at work. He says there have been nine incidents since May – with two happening per day, including an armed home invasion. The victim says he came home and found 3 men inside armed with rifles. Deputies say the men hit the victim with their weapon but didn’t fire.
“They forced him back inside the house. They struck him multiple times with a gun. They were able to take some cash,” the sheriff said.
Greer Police say the two most recent incidents happened at the Westhaven subdivision last Saturday.
“We had an officer respond and began an investigation and while he was there, a neighbor down the street and notified that they two were burglarized in a very similar manner,” said Greer Police Chief Matt Hamby. “It gives us a little sense of urgency because we’re worried that they’re going to be more victims and that’s what we don’t want. For us – on the investigative level – it makes us want to speed things up a little bit.”
Both agencies are working with the FBI, and want to make the communities they serve aware of the crimes.
“The recent trend has caused concern for the law enforcement community as a whole,” said Sheriff Lewis. “Especially when you’re targeting one specific segment of our community, we all take that very seriously.”
Parikh said the ordeal has left her shaken. “It is scary,” she said. “I am still scared.”
Sheriff Lewis says business owners in the Indian and Asian community need to be vigilant. Anyone who feels their store is being cased should speak up. If you have information you’re asked to call Crime Stoppers AT 23-CRIME.