SILVER SPRING, Md. — Two Asian restaurant owners in the Silver Spring/Takoma Park area were followed home and robbed of money made at their restaurants. The two robberies happened about a month apart, but Montgomery County police detectives believe the two incidents are related.
The first robbery happened on January 7 just before 11 p.m., according to Sergeant Rebecca Innocenti with Montgomery County police. Officers responded to a home for a reported robbery. The victim said she had just gotten home after working at her restaurant in Takoma Park when she was approached by three men. One of the men hit her on the head and stole her purse, which had cash from her restaurant business and her car keys inside.
When a man rushed to help the woman, police say that man had a gun pointed at him, and his wallet stolen.
A month later, on February 7, officers were called to the woman's restaurant in Takoma Park. Someone had stolen her silver SUV while she was working. Investigators believe whoever took the woman's car keys came back to steal her car.
Just nine days later, on February 16 at 9 p.m., Montgomery County officers responded to another reported robbery in 1800 block of Briggs Road. The woman who was robbed told police she was driving home from her restaurant in Silver Spring when she was rear-ended by a silver SUV. The woman told officers that when she got out of her car to inspect the damage, two men got out of the SUV and threw her to the ground. One of the men pointed a gun at her, while the other went into her vehicle and stole her purse, which also included proceeds from her restaurant business.
The two men left in the silver SUV. Police say the first victim's stolen SUV was found the next day, empty, near the area of the second robbery.
Anyone with information about these robberies is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773- 5070. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect(s). Anonymous tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online or via the P3 Tips app.
While it's not clear whether these crimes were racially motivated, attacks against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the country have been on the rise since last March.
Across the DMV, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC tracked 29 reports of harassment related to the pandemic. The group Stop AAPI Hate has kept a database of reports from close to 3,000 people who have experienced some form of Asian-related hate crime.
In Virginia, Arlington County Police are investigating a string of burglaries of minority owned businesses.
Both Montgomery County Police and Arlington Police advise business owners to stay alert, and vigilant.