JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio – A local family worries their ethnicity and that of others who share their culture may have made them more of a target for thieves.
A.J. and Gita, whose last name we agreed not to use, are Indian-American.
Their home was broken into in 2012 during which thieves took priceless heirloom jewelry that was handed down from Gita’s parents for her wedding, a practice of her culture she hoped to repeat with her daughter.
“Its all sentimental value for my family. It’s gone. It’s hurting so bad to me and it’s never replaced you know,” she said.
Since that break-in she and her husband say they have learned through their network of friends of other Indian-American families in Northeast Ohio who have become victims of similar thefts.
Then, just a week ago, thieves once again broke into their home, smashing in a window in spite of a working alarm system in the house.
Police say they responded within six minutes but the thief or thieves were already gone.
“This time I think about that I have a security system, so I’m safe. That’s how I feel, but still I’m not safe,” said Gita.
“The alarm triggered. We have a motion sensor in my bedroom so it triggered,” said A.J.
Police in Jackson Township said their records going back to last summer show that, at least in their community, there has been no pattern to the break-ins.
“I can only speak for Jackson Township and for the cases that I have and the other detectives that are handling burglaries, I can go as far as mid-summer and there is no particular race that is being hit for these burglaries,” said Jackson Township Police Detective Josh Escola.
But police concede that whoever broke into this couple’s home may have known exactly what they were doing.
“The family you are talking about did have an alarm system. The way the house was entered sounds like somebody knew what they were looking for or where it was at, so even with an alarm system, if it’s calculated they can get in and out fast,” said Escola.
Police, and the victims of these break-ins, all suggest that any family with priceless heirlooms do everything they can to protect them, including locking them up, even in a safety deposit box at a bank and taking every other measure possible to make it difficult for thieves to enter your home undetected.