Large-scale burglary ring targeting homes in India and South Asia carried out 43 burglaries in 25 cities in Massachusetts

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BOSTON – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Massachusetts State Police Col. John Mawn Jr. announced that Jovan Lemon, 29, of Providence, Rhode Island, Paul Lemon, 30, of Warwick, Rhode Island, Steven Berdugo, 28, of Providence, Rhode Island and Paul Miller, 46 people of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, were arrested and charged in connection with 43 break-ins and break-ins in 25 Massachusetts cities between 2018 and 2024, according to law enforcement in Rhode Island.

The defendants were directly indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on April 18, 2024, on a total of 95 counts of unarmed burglary and daytime burglary of a dwelling house with intent to commit a felony. The incidents giving rise to the charges occurred in the townships of Billerica, Boxborough, Carlisle, Easton, Hopkinton, Lincoln, Weston, Sudbury, Andover, Bellingham, Boxford, Franklin, Hudson, Littleton, Medway, Middleton, Millis, North Attleboro and Norwell, Pembroke, Seekonk, Sharon, Southborough, Wenham and Westwood between July 21, 2018 and March 30, 2024.

The residents of most of the houses were people of Indian or South Asian origin. Investigators believe they were targeted based on their ethnicity, believing their households were more likely to contain precious metals, jewelry and other valuable heirlooms.

Items reported stolen during the breaks included numerous diamonds and other gemstones, as well as studded jewelry, with individual pieces valued at up to approximately $75,000. Gold bracelets, necklaces and earrings as well as large amounts of cash. In several cases, the property was secured in locked safes weighing up to 400 pounds, which the perpetrators removed from the home along with the stolen valuables.

The total reported value of stolen property exceeds $4 million.

“The defendants in this case were very demanding. They targeted victims based on their ethnicity and then gathered information about their targets so they could strike when their families were away. They were disciplined about concealing their identities, avoiding alarms, keeping cell phone use before, during and after breaks, and using Wi-Fi jammers to a minimum. Despite these challenges and the complex nature and breadth of this investigation, law enforcement has worked collaboratively and persistently to begin the process today to hold these four defendants accountable,” said District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Lt. Col. Mark Cyr, commander of the Massachusetts State Police Division of Homeland Security, added: “The thefts we arrested today stole countless items of great financial, emotional and cultural value from families in multiple states, violating sanctity. “of their houses. Such brazen criminal acts will not be tolerated in our communities. This investigation underscores the commitment of our law enforcement partners to work together to combat complex criminal networks.”

The arrests are the result of a nine-month investigation by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the District Attorney's Office, and the Massachusetts State Police Division of Homeland Security, including the MACrimeNet Program Center operated by MSP Fusion.

The MACrimeNet program provides law enforcement officers across departments with the opportunity to obtain and share information about criminal activity and patterns, suspects and other relevant information to help resolve complex or multi-jurisdictional cases.

Additional assistance was provided by Rhode Island State Police and local law enforcement agencies throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The defendants were taken into custody without incident this morning after being arrested at their homes by members of the United States Marshals Service/Rhode Island State Police Task Force.

These allegations are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor in charge of this case is Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Michael Klunder.

This is an open and ongoing investigation conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office and the Massachusetts State Police in collaboration with police departments in Andover, Billerica, Bellingham, Boxborough, Boxford, Carlisle, Easton, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson becomes. Lincoln, Littleton, Medway, Middleton, Millis, North Attleboro, Norwell, Pembroke, Seekonk, Sharon, Southborough, Sudbury, Wenham, Weston and Westwood in Massachusetts; Avon, CT; East Lyme, CT and Connecticut State Police; Barrington, Rhode Island, Cranston, Rhode Island and Lincoln Rhode Island; and Nashua, NH with additional support from the Holliston, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Walpole, Wellesley and Westborough MA Police Departments, the Cranston, Cumberland, Providence and West Warwick, RI Police Departments and the United States Marshals Service/RISP Task Force.

Anna Harden

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