Burglars targeting Katy-area homes

March 27, 2012 4:48:29 PM PDT
Crooks are on the loose in Fort Bend County, targeting people for their jewelry and stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of gold. Investigators say the thieves are apparently scouting the victims before they strike.

There have been more than a dozen break-ins over the last few weeks. The latest one was just last weekend. It's unnerving to people who live in the area.

Investigators say thieves are checking out homes near Grand Lakes, which is near Fry Road and the Grand Parkway.

Investigators say there was another burglary just last weekend. Most have three things in common. The victims are of Indian decent, thousands of dollars in jewelry is stolen, and in many cases, while the victims were out to eat.

Burglars broke in through the master bath window last month as Chandrani Datta and her family were out to dinner.

"Lights were on. Everything was messed up -- everything," Datta said.

Thousands of dollars, she says, in electronics, cash and jewelry were gone. So was her sense of safety.

"The after effect, the incident. Always, I'm scared," Datta said.

Fort Bend Sheriff's Office investigators say since December, there have been at least 14 such thefts against homeowners mostly of Indian decent who live in Grand Lakes or other subdivisions around Katy. Each, we are told, was targeted while out to eat. Detectives think thieves do surveillance, writing down license plate numbers of potential victims, running them through their smart phones and getting their home addresses. Then the thieves strike.

"They'll wait till it looks like it's the whole family. They run the plate, know they're gonna be there an hour, hour and a half. It takes about three to five minutes to do this burglary. They're in and out quick," Fort Bend County Chief Deputy Craig Brady said.

Brady says 12 of the 14 burglary victims ate at Udipi Cafe on Mason Road prior to their homes being ransacked. A representative at that restaurant tells us they are cooperating with sheriff's investigators to help find those responsible.

Homeowners have met several times in recent months with the sheriff's office demanding help. Patrols have been beefed up. And some homeowners say they're in the process of arming themselves.

"I'm well prepared. Much better prepared for the next time if anything happens," one victim told us.

Victims like Datta just want the thieves caught before they hurt someone.

"I'm really scared. This is the main thing, I'm really scared," Datta said.

The sheriff's office says you should always be aware of your surroundings and report anything that looks suspicious. They can't stress enough the importance of starting a neighborhood watch program.

The sheriff's office says it is also approaching state legislators to ask them to make information like your home address private so it cannot be found by running license plate numbers in a public database.

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