Police: Elaborate Texas theft ring targeted Twin Cities homes

- Five people from Texas believed to be burglarizing south metro homes specifically owned by certain groups of people.     

Hoang Pham is retired, so he was home Tuesday afternoon when two men broke into his house in Shakopee through a basement sliding glass door. He soon found them crawling on the main floor.

“11 years this has never happened,” Pham said of the break-in. “I saw there, I yell I call 911, two guys they get up like that. They stand up and they go.”

Later that night, Bloomington officers pulled over a gray minivan Pham described leaving his home because it had stolen plates. According to the criminal complaint, they found burglary tools ranging from a crow bar, to binoculars, to a notebook with residential and business addresses listed in it.

“Our officers relied on some information the FBI had put out earlier that stated there was a burglary ring out of Texas that was targeting people of Asian and East Indian descent.,”

Of the five arrested, Luis Padilla talked the most to investigators. Describing who approached him about working on the burglary ring, who would go inside targeted homes, and how they would use blue tooths and cell phones to communicate during burglaries.

He also told investigators the crew would arrive to an area 5-6 days early to canvas a neighborhood based on pervious internet research.

“In this case they would knock on the door, and if someone answered the door,  they would come up with some random reason to be there and then leave,” said deputy chief Mike Hartley with the Bloomington Police Department.

The day Pham chased two men out of his house, he didn't know how many burglars he was dealing with.

“When I see the light in the basement I think more people.. .oh I scared,” Pham said “I think there's more people in my house. I scared.  I go over here and I took two knives.”

The knives weren’t needed because Pham called the cops quickly.

“After that I call 911.”

Police are also working to figure out how many more victims there might be between here and Texas.

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