Daytime Burglaries Rattle Queens Community
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Some Indian New Yorkers think their Queens community is being targeted by thieves.
“I turned the lock, and I was like, ‘wait a second, I locked the door when we left that morning,’” said Lea Balgobin, a burglary victim.
She did, but someone had broken into her home after she left with her husband Rohan to run errands. The burglar only took cash and gold.
“Every piece of jewelry we had, they took,” said Rohan Balgobin.
Those items were worth over $50,000 according to the police report . The Balgobins say it's common for Indians from Asia and the West Indies to keep large amounts of jewelry in their homes because people often give gold as gifts and the jewelry is passed for generations.
“I'm just so angry because these are things that can never be replaced,” said Lea.
Several other homes in the Indo-Caribbean section of South Ozone Park have also been burglarized. The couple's cousin says thieves took gold and cash from his home last week. Now there's talk among residents that maybe Indians are being targeted for their gold because many of the homes that were hit had Hindu shrines outside.
“I have been hearing that for the past three months,” said Keemraj Bowlah, a burglary victim.
There have been reports across the country about crooks targeting Indians for their gold, but police say there's no pattern showing that in and around 131st Street.
And while the New York City Police Department does not believe a specific group is being targeted, the local councilman said there has been a spike in the number of daytime burglaries.
“From what I'm understanding there are five to seven individuals on that block who have been burglarized,” said Councilman Ruben Wills.
Wills said that's within the last few months.
“I can understand how someone in a certain group could feel that way if they are the ones being targeted, but sometimes and more often than not, it may just be because that area may be easier picking for predators,” said Wills.
Wills said the 106th precinct is now planning to increase their patrols the area.
As for the Balgobins, they placed a sign for their alarm system next to their sacred Hindu shrine.