Grandmother robbed, beaten in Harford

Three men force their way into home of Chinese restaurateurs

January 16, 2000|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Police in Harford County were investigating the midday attack of a 62-year-old woman after three men forced their way into her home while she was baby-sitting two young grandchildren, beat her, and stole jewelry, other valuables and about $12,000 in cash.

The intruders, one of whom brandished a knife, covered the heads of the woman and her 5-year-old grandson with plastic bags, police said. They then locked the boy and his 8-month-old brother in the basement, police said.

The three men ordered the woman upstairs, where they punched her in the face repeatedly and then locked her in a closet, according to Sgt. William Vogt of the Bel Air barracks of the Maryland State Police.

The robbery occurred between noon and 2: 30 p.m. Friday at the home of Wendy and John Zhang in the 2700 block of Singer Woods Drive in Abingdon.

The couple owns the Golden City restaurant in Edgewood and are part-owners of another restaurant in Harford County, the China King in Rock Springs. The Zhangs are the parents of the two children who were at home during the robbery.

"It seems like the robbers followed people home from the restaurant to find out where they lived, then returned to rob them," Vogt said.

The children were unharmed, but the older woman had abrasions and bruises on her head. She refused medical treatment.

"They beat her with their hands and she's still pretty swollen," William Zhang, 17, said of his grandmother. He discovered the victims when he returned home from school Friday.

"I saw the big mess and heard my grandmother calling," William said yesterday at the Golden City.

He said the intruders beat his grandmother after she refused three times to tell them where the cash was kept in the house.

"They searched every single room and took out the clothes and even took my laptop [computer] that I only bought two days ago," William said. "They pretty much turned the whole house into a big pile of junk."

He said the intruders also took his mother's jewelry, four hand- held computer devices used to translate English into Chinese and $12,000 in cash. His grandmother was planning to deposit the money in the bank, he said.

Vogt said the robbery appears similar to other "home invasions" in Baltimore County targeting the owners of Chinese restaurants.

A handful of similar break-ins involving Asian-American victims have been reported during the last several years. In previous incidents in Cockeysville and Linthicum, intruders bound the victims, ransacked the homes and took cash and jewelry.

Neighbors of the Zhangs in the Singer Woods subdivision were surprised to learn of the attack.

"This doesn't happen around here," said Erin Peddicord. "It's a quiet neighborhood, very quiet."

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