Torrance police are warning the public to beware of burglars posing as landscapers or gardeners who appear to be targeting Asian American homeowners.
The suspects appear to be targeting residents who live in townhomes in gated communities in central and eastern neighborhoods, focusing on residents who own businesses outside of Torrance, and those who may have large amounts of cash at home, police said. The homeowners are of Asian descent, police said.
The suspects are driving late American model minivans and SUVS and might be following residents home, police said. They are usually in groups of three or four people.
“Be aware of vehicles that pull in right after residents have entered the security gates,” Torrance Police Sgt. Mark Ponegalek said. “If something or someone causes you to believe criminal activity has or is about to take place, call 911.”
Ponegalek said multiple agencies are working together on the case because the burglaries in Torrance might be part of criminal activity also seen in Orange County and elsewhere in Los Angeles County.
Police advise residents of these neighborhoods to be mindful of gardeners they’ve never seen, especially those without gardening tools, or people wearing reflective vests, carrying clipboards, using ladders and knocking on doors asking for an individual who doesn’t live in that home.
Residents should not physically intervene but instead call police if they suspect criminal activity, police said.
City News Service contributed to this report.