Six California men are accused of carrying out what authorities called a “prolific” series of robberies and burglaries targeting Asian women in the San Francisco Bay Area, authorities said Wednesday.
The men also face allegations of hate crimes after they allegedly “preyed” on more than 100 women in Santa Clara County and other parts of the region, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen told reporters during a news conference in San Jose’s Little Saigon neighborhood.
The men allegedly “robbed them, took their purses, attacked them to steal from them,” Rosen said. He added, “They thought Asian women don’t use banks and they made other ethnic slurs against Asians which I won’t repeat here.”
The men range in age from 21 to 27 and are from different parts of the Bay Area and California’s Central Valley. They are accused of carrying out more than 70 incidents of robbery, burglary and theft between October 2020 and September 2021, the San Jose Police Department said in a news release.
The men have not been charged with any violent crimes, however, police said many of the victims were injured during the robberies.
The hate crime enhancements could increase the penalties they face if convicted.
A San Jose police detective began linking the robberies together last year and eventually realized "the span of the area geographically that they were covering — all the way out through Santa Clara County and beyond," San Jose Police Capt. Brian Shab told reporters.
While the men are accused of more than 70 incidents, police suspect they could be linked to a total of 177, Shab said.
The men were arrested between September and November, he said.
Lawyers for Moody and Banks did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Efforts to reach the other men or their lawyers were unsuccessful.
The arrests come amid a surge of reports of anti-Asian bias and violence and after a wave of robberies and other crimes targeting older Asians rocked the Bay Area earlier this year.
In Wednesday's news release, the San Jose Police Department said it wanted to send a message to its Asian Americans and Pacific Islander community: "Criminals who wish to target you because of your ethnicity, or your gender, will be met with the tenacity of the finest police officers, detectives, and attorneys in the nation, and this case is a great example of that."