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CAUTION – Burglars target INDIAN homes

Flower Mound Police Department had a town hall meeting yesterday (December 18, 2014) in which the home invasion folks spoke. Here's the summary:

Present in the meeting were key PD personnel, FM residents including the victim (Singh Family) that was target of last Sunday's home invasion. FM PD provided the background that the cell (4-5 African American individuals) that executed this invasion had conducted similar or somewhat similar invasions in Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Georgia. In fact they came to North Texas on Thursday driving from Michigan (in a rental Ford Fusion. New car instead of some suspicious old looking car that draws attention).

On Friday the cell performed invasion at home of an Asian family in Coppell. On Saturday they performed home invasion in Allen. On Sunday evening they performed home invasion in Southlake and then Sunday night they arrived in flower mound.

The target for the home invasions are mainly Asians and primarily 'Indian Nationals'. At Southlake when they invaded the home the owner was not present and the security alarm went off. Southlake police contacted the homeowner and he (Indian family) asked police to disregard the alarm going off assuming that it might be just be circumstantial (big error on their part).

Mr Singh (from Flower Mound) was nice to come forefront and share his traumatic experience so ensure that other members of our community take extra precautions and avoid these unpleasant experiences.

It was 9pm on Sunday night when Mr Singh heard a knock on his front door. He was working in his office which happened to be close to the front door. Initially he thought that he was not expecting anyone at this hour but then the door knocking intensity increased. He looked thru the door peep hole and he saw a young lady (19-year old) African American in front of the door.

Couple of things to note here. First of all the light above the front door was not working. Hence the visibility was very poor.

In addition the guys had already been to his backyard (since that's the preferred mode of entry for the intruders as per their interrogation with the police). His neighbors dog in the backyard was barking but he did not notice it.

He, his wife, kids and in-laws (from India) were in the home at the time this unfortunate event occurred.

As soon as he opened the door 6-inches he was pushed and 3-masked men entered through the front door. He was hit on the head and the men were masked with real loaded guns in their hands. He started screaming (his wife was upstairs and his in-laws were in the family room watching TV).

The guys were using filthy language and there was lot of screaming within the first 30-35 seconds. Mrs Singh upstairs heard and sensed that something was not right and the best thing she did was that she immediately dialed 911. However she had to drop the phone (the call still continued) and she went outside to check on her family. 1 guy immediately ran upstairs and got Mrs Singh and her kids.

Everybody was brought into family room including in-laws. The father-in-law tried to be aggressive with the guys but Mr Singh had presence of mind to inform his family to stay calm. He told the intruders to take away whatever they want and leave his family.

The intruders kept on asking for his safe deposit vault (which apparently they had bought about 2-3 months ago). Intruders asked Mr Singh to open the vault which he was unable to and the intruders got mad at him. The vault password was operated by Mrs Singh so they had to get her and ask her to open the vault. Intruders too some cash, jewellery and all the values that the family members were wearing.

Meanwhile the 19-year old who had initially knocked on the door never entered the home. She went back into the car and was watching from outside. In addition it seems that all the guys including the girl outside were all on the phone and in constant communication.

The 911 call that Mrs Singh called. The dispatcher was able to locate it even though cell phone location at times is not 100% accurate. Police patrol was dispatched to the location and they arrive at the location within 3-5 mins. On arrival they saw the Ford Fusion car and started inquiring with the girl in the car. Police found something suspicious. Meanwhile the girl had already informed the intruders on the police arrival and they started finishing up the act and ran away from backyard on foot.

Police knew that something was going on in the home however for the safety of the family they did not want to corner the home immediately. Hence they setup a trap and let the intruders escape.

Police recovered a cell phone and a call log indicated a call being made to a home in Carrollton. It seems someone was coordinating this whole events from that home. PD dispatched officers to the Carrollton home and found a lady there. 2 of the 3 suspects were arrested when they came to the Carrollton home (via a car jacked from Lewisville). 1 suspect escaped.

In the home police recovered a list (3-4 pages) of the people who were possible targets for home invasions. The list had been created by researching public databases or social media networks and so on. The list included peoples with similar last names i.e. "Patels" and "Singhs" in addition there were other people in the list too. There were some additional notes that were written against each name.

Police has since then reached out to all the people whose name were mentioned in the list. There was 1 person in yesterday's meeting whose name was on the list and was contacted by the police.

1 suspect who fled was since then captured in Houston. In short the entire cell has been captured. There are charges still being filed from all different states including federal and homeland security. One of the suspects is of Colombian decent and was deported before. They are currently held in jail on $800k to $1.3M bonds.

Police however suspects that there could be many more gangs or cells at loose. However this is by far the worst assault that has happened in Flower Mound area. Police felt that out privacy and security has been invaded.

In short we (Indians) are soft target for now so anything we see that is suspicious please report to police. 911 calls via landline (vs cellphone) have faster and accurate immediate response. In addition police has asked for our holidays or festivities times so that they can perform additional patrols.

Someone asked what happens if we do not have safe or do not have enough cash in home? What are the repercussions? Basically it does not mean that we need to have a bait for the intruders or keep something in our homes to please these intruders. However they are basically looking for money or valuables. So far they have not crossed the lines of using guns or firing shots (however the guns were real and loaded). Typically they were preferring when nobody is at home and entering thru backyard however they did not hesitate in this case to perform invasion when the homeowner was present. In short they can cross-limits if situation arise (having weapons at home in this case may or may not help considering risks at stake).

Overall extra precaution, care, knowing neighbors, locking back yard doors, security monitoring etc would be right course of action.