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4 charged with robberies in Indian-American homes in US


New York, Dec 16 (PTI) Four persons, including two women, have been charged for carrying out a string of robberies in homes of Indian-Americans in the New Jersey area following the Diwali festival.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey announced yesterday that Chaka Castro, 39, Juan Olaya, 34, Octavius Scott, 22, and Johnisha Williams, 19, have been charged in connection with robbing five Indian-American families.

The four charged are from Houston, Texas and were arrested last week for carrying out robberies in the state. Authorities are working on extraditing them to New Jersey.

“There are people breathing a sigh of relief,” Carey said. The incidents of robbery, in which the families were restrained, robbed at gunpoint and assaulted, had sparked fear among the Indian-American community in New Jersey.

The robberies began after the Diwali festival, when Indians traditionally have gold at home and wear expensive jewellery.

In each case of robbery, the gunmen pointed their weapons at victims’ heads, tied the victims up and ransacked the houses, apparently looking for gold. The four charged had also committed other crimes targeting Asians in Texas, Michigan, New York and Georgia, according to prosecutors.

Castro has been charged on various counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and for taking part in orchestrating the robberies. She allegedly picked the victims and then directed the others to commit the crimes, Carey said.

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