Four armed, young Asian-American men broke into the townhouse of an Asian-American family in Cockeysville early today, tied up the family members, ransacked the house and took money, jewelry and a videocassette recorder, Baltimore County police say.
The robbery is similar to another break-in involving Asian-American victims and robbers in Cockeysville in May, but police investigators are not sure if the two cases are related.
"The connection is that they're Asian," police spokesman E. Jay Miller said. "Whether they're related, it's hard to say. We're still exploring any possible connections."
The latest robbery occurred at the home of Thompson and Lisa Lee in the first block of Valley Ridge Loop about 3:20 a.m., police said.
The Lee house is about two miles from the site of the first robbery.
The Lees and their two daughters, one 21 and another 14, were sleeping when the men broke in, police said. The family members were not injured.
The robbers -- one carrying a small handgun and two with knives -- entered the house by prying open a front basement window, Mr. Miller said.
The thieves awakened the daughters in their bedrooms and took them into their parents' rooms, where they were tied up on the floor, Mr. Miller said. Mr. and Mrs. Lee were tied up on the bed.
The robbers ransacked the house, taking the VCR, jewelry and an undetermined amount of cash, Mr. Miller said. Police did not have a value for the jewelry and VCR.
Police described the suspects as all about 5 feet 7 inches tall and each weighing about 140 pounds. They are slim and have short black hair, police said.
The family told investigators that the robbers remained polite throughout the robbery. After the robbers left, the family members freed themselves and reported the robbery to police at 4:30 a.m.
In the early morning of May 11, police said, the family of Jason Chu was bound by robbers while at home in the 10600 block of Pot Spring Road. The house was ransacked, police said, by thieves armed with knives. They took about $6,000 plus jewelry.
The cases are similar to other robberies of Asian-American families in other cities.
Police in other cities describe the incidents as "home invasions."
Baltimore County police said the department has handled three other similar robberies in the last 3 1/2 years. Police have speculated that the thieves believe their Asian-Americans victims will be less likely to cooperate with investigators.
Mr. Miller noted that the department has difficulty investigating the robbery at the Chu family's home. "[The family] will not even talk to us," he said.