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Three suspects arrested for racially targeted burglaries

graphic depicting a satellite beacon with the text "Breaking News" in all caps
(Graphic Illustration by Malia Berry | The Collegian)

Three suspects were arrested in connection to a series of burglaries that targeted Asian business owners. Investigators are still looking for another suspect thought to be in Colombia. 

“Today’s announcement highlights the increase in crimes against Asian Americans,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in a press release. “We in Colorado won’t tolerate it. Those who commit crimes against an individual or community because of their ethnicity or cultural background must be held to account.” 

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In January 2019, Fort Collins Police investigated five daytime home invasions. Each home burglarized were owned by local Asian business owners, none of whom were harmed during the time of the break-in. 

Authorities believed the incidents were connected to more than 20 home invasions that occurred in other areas of Colorado, including Greeley. In partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigators connected 26 families who had been burglarized by the suspects in both Colorado and Wyoming.

The suspects in this international case brazenly victimized members of our community and beyond, and they will finally be held accountable,”– Tim Doran, FCPS Criminal Investigations Division’s Assistant Chief

Every family home that was burglarized was owned by an Asian business owner. Investigators estimated the total loss for all incidents ranged from $1.3 million to $1.4 million. 

The suspects would make sure no one was home then enter through a window or door using force. Items the suspects took ranged from cash to jewelry.

“Investigators learned that cases with the same pattern were occurring across the country, reportedly being carried out by organized criminal groups with ties to South America,” according to a press release

In July 2020, the Grand Jury indicted three of the suspects, Santiago Hoyos Gaviria, 24, Jhon Eder Florez-Molina, 28, Yenny Zoraya Rodas-Florez, 30. In September 2020, authorities arrested Rodas-Florez and Hoyos-Gaviria. 

The fourth suspect was later identified to be Carlos Geovanny Florez-Molina, 34. He was arrested on April 1. Jhon Edera Florez-Molina remains at large, avoiding arrest in South America, according to a press release. 

The suspects are being charged with pattern of racketeering and participating in an enterprise (class 2 felony), conspiracy (F2), 24 counts of second degree burglary to a dwelling (F3) and 20 counts of theft and/or criminal mischief. 

“The suspects in this international case brazenly victimized members of our community and beyond, and they will finally be held accountable,” said FCPS Criminal Investigations Division’s Assistant Chief Tim Doran in a release. “Every crime is wrong, but one focused against a particular race or ethnic group is particularly reprehensible.” 

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Laura Studley can be reached as news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_

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