Vancouver Island RCMP investigate targeted home invasions

Vancouver Island RCMP investigate targeted home invasions

Vancouver Island Mounties are warning of an increase in burglaries that appear to be targeting the homes of Asian business owners.

Campbell River RCMP say two break-ins were reported earlier this month. These break-ins come after similar incidents were reported in the Comox Valley in late February and early March.

“There is significant information that supports the theory that these thieves are targeting residences owned by small business owners of Asian descent in the community. The burglaries appear to be occurring while the owners are at work,” Constable Maury Tyre said in a news release.

“Investigators believe an organized crime group may be placing GPS trackers on victims’ vehicles in order to track their movements.”

The first burglary in Campbell River was reported to police on March 6 on Garden Way. The next day, police responded to Joanne Drive near College Drive. In the Comox Valley, three burglaries were reported to RCMP between February 24 and March 1.

Police said the residences may first be visited by thieves to see if anyone is home.

“If the suspects encounter the homeowner, they may mention that they are in the wrong house,” Comox Valley RCMP Constable Holly Carlson said in a news release.

The RCMP is asking homeowners to call police if a similar situation occurs at their home.

RCMP spokesperson in British Columbia, Corporal Alex Bérubé, clarified that the targeted residences are not those of home-based businesses, but rather those of Asian business owners.

Cash and valuables were stolen in the burglaries and police are urging people to keep their properties secure, particularly over the holidays. Police are recommending that homeowners install doorbells and security lights around their property.

Investigators are asking people with security cameras near the targeted residences to view their footage and report any suspicious activity to authorities.

With reporting from Todd Coyne of CTV New Vancouver