BALLWIN, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Out-of-state criminals have made their way into the St. Louis area and are targeting the homes of one specific ethnic group.
According to St. Louis County Police, the thieves are tracking down the homes of South Asian families and stealing gold jewelry from the houses during the day. The crime trend has been previously seen in other cities including Houston, Atlanta and Springfield, Illinois.
Police said the criminals are going through the phone book to find common Indian surnames such as Patel, Shah and Singh.
When asked if the families are being profiled, Officer Shawn McGuire said, "Yeah, it's a strong possibility. Whenever you focus on a distinct last name of a heritage or descent, that's definitely called profiling."
Police said the thieves have broken into homes in Wildwood and near Ballwin and they believe the thieves may have a connection to Houston.
Witnesses have seen a dark-colored four-door sedan at one of the crime scenes and police urge neighbors to report any suspicious activity they may see. Police also recommend those who own valuable jewelry not to store it at home.