(WKBN) – Pennsylvania State Police is investigating after a series of burglaries have targeted Asian American restaurant owners.

According to police, almost $1 million in cash and personal property have been stolen from the homes of Asian Americans who own restaurants.

“While many of these crimes occurred in the northeastern part of the state, similar burglaries have been reported across the commonwealth,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, PSP commissioner. “We want business owners to be aware of this trend and take preventive measures.”

Police say the suspects are acting as a team, with one person serving as a lookout, others entering the home to take cash and jewelry, and another waiting in the getaway car.

Police believe the homes were watched and targeted, with the suspects possibly learning the activity patterns of the residents to figure out when the home will be unoccupied. They usually disguise themselves, sometimes by wearing yellow safety vests or posing as landscapers. The burglaries are carried out within 30 minutes or less.

Last year, eight people were indicted for similar crimes. They allegedly ran a residential burglary ring targeting business owners, typically of Asian family-owned restaurants.

In many of those cases, they learned where restaurant owners lived by entering their cars for registration cards, installing makeshift tracking devices on their vehicles, or following them home from work.

The Pennsylvania State Police suggests taking some of these preventative measures:

  • Secure cash and valuables in your home.
  • Be aware of individuals and vehicles in your neighborhood that aren’t usually there.
  • Install motion sensor lights around your home.
  • Consider having surveillance cameras and an alarm system installed.
  • Keep your vehicle locked while at work and secure registration information.
  • Be aware of anyone who might be following you home.
  • Report suspicious activity to your local police department.

For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit psp.pa.gov.