OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — In Ottawa County, investigators are looking for thieves who are targeting the homes of local small business owners.
There have been four break-ins in the homes of Chinese restaurant owners over the last four months, but Captain Jake Sparks with the Sheriff's Office says these cases aren't being considered a hate crime.
The most recent burglary occurred on Jan. 14 in Holland Township off of 104th and Huizenga Avenue. There was another this past October and two more in November, also in Holland Township.
"And in those incidents, just like this most recent incident, cash and jewelry were targeted, and were stolen from these home while the victims were away at work," Capt. Sparks says.
The Sheriff's Office says hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry have been stolen.
"The fact that these restaurant owners work long hours and they're away from homes makes it a target for these thieves. And I don't believe it's anything to do with the race or ethnicity of the victims," he says.
Capt. Sparks is encouraging everyone, including small business owners, to take appropriate precautions both at work and at home.
"I would just encourage people to utilize safes or lock boxes to lock up their belongings, their jewelry, their cash, [and use] home security systems, alarm systems," he says. "Anything that gives us a little head start or a jumpstart to try to be able to respond to these and get somebody in the act would be very helpful to us."
The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office is urging anyone who thinks they saw something, or if their home security camera caught something, to call them at (616)738-4000 or Silent Observer at 1 (877) 887-4536 or mosotips.com.
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