Asian business owners across the Portland metro area are in disbelief after at least 11 restaurants and businesses have been targeted by smash-and-grab burglars in the last few weeks.
“It’s gone, it’s all gone,” said Robert Le, looking at the spot where his cash register once stood. “They grabbed it, out they go.”
Le owns Pho Zen, a restaurant in Happy Valley where burglars were caught on surveillance video early Thursday morning, smashing the glass in one of the front doors and leaving with the entire cash register and point of sale system.
“They’ve got hoods on, they’ve got caps on, they’ve got gloves on,” he added. “So these guys are professional. They’ve done this many times.”
Now, word is spreading like wildfire throughout the Asian community around Portland because Le isn’t alone; many other Vietnamese and Chinese businesses have been targeted, too.
Police confirm to FOX 12 that similar crimes have happened in at least 11 places in the last few weeks at Asian restaurants, supermarkets, nail salons – even a barber shop. Six of them are in Portland, and the others are scattered across Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tualatin and Le’s restaurant in Happy Valley.
Vancouver Police are also investigating similar cases.
Le’s heard of others in Wilsonville, as well.
“I started contacting our friends in the restaurant and nail business and other businesses around and they all got hit,” he said. “I want to get the message out because a lot of those other businesses may not speak up.”
So far, the only arrests that have been made came after Pho Viet was burglarized in Hillsboro early Wednesday morning.
Hillsboro police said Khien Nguyen, 38, and Thu Chi Vo, 43, were booked into the Washington County Jail on one count of burglary each in connection with the case.
Detectives suspect they are connected to at least some of the other cases across the area and additional charges could be coming.
Le believes Nguyen and Vo aren’t the only people behind the rash of crimes. He thinks a group of people are working together and he’s hoping by speaking up they’ll get the message: We’re watching and we’ll find you.
“For something like this to happen it’s devastating to a lot of us – to everybody,” Le said. “I hope they get caught, I hope they get prosecuted because it’s not fair for us to be dealing with all this.”
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