Burglars posing as gardeners targeting Torrance residents, police say

Torrance police are warning the public to beware of burglars who appear to be targeting victims of Asian descent.

The burglaries have occurred in recent weeks in townhomes in gated communities in the central and eastern areas of the city, according to Sgt. Mark Ponegalek of the Torrance Police Department.

He described the victims as homeowners of Asian descent who own businesses outside the city. Those victims may have been followed home from work and kept large quantities of cash at home.

The suspects are described as three to four people posing as gardeners or landscape workers, police said. They were believed to be driving late model minivans and SUVs. Police also released two photos from surveillance cameras showing a suspect wearing a wide-brimmed hat and reflective vest.

Ponegalek warned residents to watch for unfamiliar people who appear to be gardeners or delivery workers and knock on doors asking for someone by name who does not live there.

"Be aware of vehicles that pull in right after residents have entered the security gates," Ponegalek added. "If something or someone causes you to believe criminal activity has or is about to take place, call 911."

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