At least 16 Fairfax County burglaries in the United States may be the work of the same suspects, who apparently have targeted homes of people with Asian backgrounds, sometimes by spotting depictions of a prominent Hindu deity, says a report in the Washington Times.
The police, the paper reported, said they believe the series of apparently related incidents began in January -- the latest being July 28.
Police said victims in several burglaries "had religious ornaments displayed outside or around their homes".
They said that detectives think the decorations "may be a contributing factor" in the choice of homes to loot. In an interview Friday night, one victim, Anjana Varkhedkar, said "most victims with Indian background had a garland on their doors.
In addition, she said that the door of her house had a small representation of Ganesha. Accounts of other burglaries in the series also cite the presence of a representation of Ganesha, a patron of wisdom, intellect and success.
Varkhedkar said homes with Indian connections might have been targeted because many of their owners may possess jewelry, for its intrinsic and heirloom value.
Police said jewelry, electronics and passports have been commonly stolen items in the incidents.