Suspects in targeted robberies face bias charges
The six suspects accused of breaking into the homes of several Indian-American families in Middlesex County will now face bias charges.
The suspects in the home invasions are accused of ransacking homes, assaulting families and holding them at gunpoint. The incidents occurred over a two-month span. Authorities say they picked the families because they were from India.
Middlesex County is home to one of the largest Indian communities in New Jersey. The crimes came around Diwali, a major Indian holiday.
At the time of the crimes, hundreds in the community attended community forums with the local police and Middlesex County prosecutor. Many felt the Indian-American community was being targeted and they felt ignored by law enforcement.
The county prosecutor says evidence now points to a pattern where specific targets were selected.
The six suspects, Chaka Castro, Juan Olaya, Octavius Scott, Johnisha Williams, Justin Johnson and Jakeyra Augustus are all from the Houston, Texas area. They are accused of crimes in Michigan, Georgia, New York and Texas as well.