Crime

4 Indicted in Burglary Ring Targeting Indian, South Asian Families

CrimeMay 02, 2024

4 Indicted in Burglary Ring Targeting Indian, South Asian Families

The men are allegedly responsible for stealing millions in jewelry and other valuables in 43 burglaries in 25 towns across Massachusetts.

Stock image of handcuffs and gavel
Authorities have arrested and indicted four men allegedly tied to 43 home burglaries, stealing jewelry and other valuables from mainly Indian and South Asian families in Massachusetts.
Boston—Authorities have arrested four Rhode Island men in connection with a string of 43 burglaries targeting Indian and South Asian families in 25 towns across Massachusetts. 

The burglaries took place between July 21, 2018 and March 30, 2024, according to a release from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Massachusetts State Police Colonel John Mawn Jr.

Jovan Lemon, 29, of Providence, Paul Lemon, 30, of Warwick, Steven Berdugo, 28, of Providence, and Paul Miller, 46, of Woonsocket, are allegedly part of an organized burglary ring with ties to a “violent” Providence-based gang known to law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island.

On April 18, a Middlesex grand jury indicted the men on a total of 95 counts of unarmed burglary and breaking and entering a house in the daytime with intent to commit a felony. 

According to the release, the burglaries took place in: Andover, Bellingham, Billerica, Boxborough, Boxford, Carlisle, Easton, Franklin, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lincoln, Littleton, Medway, Middleton, Millis, North Attleboro, Norwell, Pembroke, Seekonk, Sharon, Southborough, Sudbury, Wenham, Weston, and Westwood.

The residents of a majority of the homes were people of Indian or South Asian heritage, said the release, and are believed to have been targeted by the criminals based on the idea that households of these ethnicities were “more likely to contain precious metals, jewelry, and other valuable heirlooms.”

The total reported value of stolen property exceeds $4 million, said authorities.

Many pieces of jewelry, set with diamonds and other gemstones, were stolen, including individual pieces with a value of up to $75,000, as well as gold bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, and large quantities of cash.

In several cases, the family’s valuables were in locked safes weighing up to 400 pounds, which were taken by the thieves.

“If any of you have ever had the experience of having your home or apartment broken into, you know how invasive that crime is,” Ryan, the district attorney, said during a press conference held this week.

“If you add to that having knowledge, or at least a suspicion, that your home was targeted not just to gain property, but because of who you are [and] your ethnic heritage, I think that gives you some sense of the trauma inflicted.”

 Related stories will be right here … 

In the press release, Ryan described the defendants as “very sophisticated.”

“They targeted victims based on their ethnicity and then gathered information about their targets in order to strike when families were not at home. They were disciplined in concealing their identity, avoiding alarms, and minimizing cell phone use before, during, and after the breaks, and using Wi-Fi jammers,” she said.

“Despite these challenges and the complicated nature and breadth of this investigation, law enforcement collaboratively and persistently worked to today begin the process of holding these four defendants accountable.” 

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Cyr, commander of the Massachusetts State Police Division of Homeland Security, said: “The theft crew we arrested today stole countless items of great monetary, emotional, and cultural value from families in multiple states, and did so by violating the sanctity of their homes. 

“Such brazen criminal actions will not be tolerated in our communities. This investigation highlights the dedication of our law enforcement partners to work collaboratively to take down complex criminal networks.”

The arrests follow a nine-month investigation by various Massachusetts law enforcement agencies, with assistance from agencies in Rhode Island.

The investigation is open and ongoing.

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