Two Colombian nationals are sitting in Collin County Detention Center after being arrested for multiple home invasion robberies that allegedly targeted individuals of Asian descent.
Pier Alexander Pelaez, 44, was arrested Friday in Dallas. Edwin Riascos Romero, 32, was arrested Tuesday in Plano.
Plano police say they starting receiving reports in early March of burglaries of homes occupied by Asian victims. The break-ins occurred while no one was home, Officer Jerry Minton said. The burglars just went in, took the property and left. In mid-March, there started to be confrontations in the homes being robbed, Minton says.
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"Homeowners were home, people would break into the house and present a firearm and make threats to the homeowners," he says.
Other law enforcement agencies noticed crimes with a similar pattern in their jurisdictions, and the U.S. Marshals, Frisco police and Richardson police would eventually join the investigation. Because Pelaez and Romero are in the country illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was also brought in.
The case bears some striking similarities to a multi-state series of home invasions that ended in six March arrests. Suspects in that investigation, including a ringleader also from Colombia are accused of targeting Indian or Asian in families in North Texas, Michigan, New Jersey and Georgia. Police say they have no evidence the cases are related.