Asian restaurant owners targeted in robberies, home invasions - WNCN: News, Weather

Asian restaurant owners targeted in robberies, home invasions

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The owner of New Jumbo China was followed home, robbed and pistol whipped. The owner of New Jumbo China was followed home, robbed and pistol whipped.
CLAYTON, N.C. - Crooks behind a string of robberies and violent home invasions in eastern North Carolina are targeting the owners of Asian restaurants, according to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Explosives.  Now, they are asking for the public to help them solve those crimes.

In the past eight months, it's happened to restaurant owners in nine counties across the eastern part of the state, including Beaufort, Craven, Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Lenoir, Onslow, Pitt and Wayne Counties.

Johnston County reports two recent home invasions, including one on June 5 in Princeton and another on April 1 in Clayton.

In the Clayton case, the owner of the New Jumbo China restaurant in the Swift Creek Plaza shopping center was followed home, robbed and pistol whipped.

Joann Grasso lives two doors down and heard the commotion that night.

"The man had been hit in the back of the head with the butt of a gun," Grasso said.  "He was bleeding.  He and his wife were tied up.  They were put on the floor."

Police say the motive is robbery, but they have no suspects.

Detective Jason Linder with the Clayton Police Department said owners of small Asian restaurants are often known to take bank deposits home with them at night.  He is worried they will strike again.

"Oh yes because it has happened again," Linder said.  "And so that's why we're reaching out so hopefully somebody will come forward."

Police are urging the owners of Asian restaurants to become more aware of their surroundings.

Grasso says the Clayton victim has since installed a security system, a locking screen door and a camera at his home.  She says she's also not taking chances.

"Yes, night lights are on, doors are locked, double-locked," she said, "Screen doors are locked, windows are locked."

The ATF, Craven County Crime Stoppers, Edgecombe/Nash County Crime Stoppers and the Pitt County Crime Stoppers have combined with the Clayton Police Department ad the Tarboro Police Department to offer an $8,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

If you have information about any of the crimes, you're asked to call 1-800-276-4533.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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