cThree armed, masked men terrorized and robbed an Asian-American business owner and his family in their Radnor Township home late Wednesday night in yet another home invasion targeting people of Asian descent.
This time, the business owner was a dentist, with offices in Philadelphia and Coatesville.
The Daily News last month wrote about this alarming trend in which armed thugs have followed Asian business owners to their homes in the belief that the victims stash cash at home.
In this case, Dr. Jim Cheng doesn't know if he was followed to his home on Brooklea Road in Rosemont. He said in his Olney office on Thursday that he had picked up his daughter, 20, a University of Pennsylvania student, Wednesday night in University City before returning home about 11:30 p.m.
After they got out of the family's Mercedes, "I enter the garage and then suddenly, three people follow me," Cheng, 49, said. They pointed guns at him and one demanded, "Don't scream!"
His wife, 48, a University of Pennsylvania medical-school research specialist, was already inside their home.
The masked thugs forced him to lie facedown in the kitchen, Cheng said. They isolated his wife and daughter in other rooms.
They pointed guns at him, asked where money was and threatened to kill him if he didn't obey, Cheng said. He told them where to find money.
The thugs tied the family's hands behind their backs and stuffed their mouths with socks, Cheng said. After about an hour, they forced Cheng, his wife and daughter into the basement before they fled with cash and jewelry, he said. Police did not disclose how much money was taken.
"It is a nightmare," said Cheng, adding that he is thankful that the robbers did not hurt them.
Cheng, who came to the U.S. from Fujian Province in southeastern China about 20 years ago, said his business does not deal much with cash. Most of his payments come through insurance companies, he said.
Radnor Township police said that they believe the victims were targeted as part of the recent trend in which thugs have attacked Asian business owners. Acting Lt. Andrew Block said that he believed this was a culturally motivated crime — based on a belief that Asians often keep cash in their homes — and was not racially motivated. He said it did not fit the crimes-code definition of a hate crime.
The three thugs were described as black, wearing facemasks and baseball-style caps, one a Yankees hat. One man was about 30 to 35, heavyset, wearing a gray Polo sweatshirt. Another was in his late teens or early 20s, thin, and wearing a red shirt.
Block said that he has contacted Haverford Township police to see if this home invasion might be related to one there in April.
Cheng and his wife were already thinking of moving to a different house since their daughter graduated from high school in the Radnor district; they have a "For Sale" sign in front of their house.
Now, he definitely wants to move. But, "Right now, I don't know where is safe," he said.
Tipsters may call Radnor police at 610-688-0503.