GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- Employees at both the Hong Kong Buffet and Oriental Garden in Loganville recently had guns shoved in their faces during armed robberies. Police confirmed Asian-style businesses are being targeted around the metro Atlanta area.
“Working with other agencies in the area we’ve all identified at least seven that we are really confident are linked together,” Loganville Assistant Police Chief Dick Lowry said.
Recently there have been four in Gwinnett County, two in Walton County, and one in Rockdale County.
This worries people in Loganville.
“It’s really scary, especially having my nine-year-old with me. It could happen at any time,” Loganville customer Anna Kotlowski said.
In both cases in Loganville, I've learned the gunmen entered through a back door at closing time. Employees were held at gunpoint and forced to give up money and other personal items. At both restaurants the gunman hit a female employee in the face with the gun demanding more money.
“When you start hitting people in the face with guns, number one for me that makes you a coward.” Lowry said. “Number two, it certainly makes them dangerous and gives us great incentive to do everything we can do to get them off the street.”
In the armed robbery of a restaurant called Mr. Eggroll, an employee was tased behind his right ear making him dizzy and fall to the ground.
Police do believe they have an idea why these Asian style businesses, often run by immigrants, may be targeted.
“Sometimes they keep more cash on hand or not necessarily use the banking system and we assume that’s what they believe,” Lowry said. “Any Asian themed restaurant in the metro Atlanta area I would say is in danger right now until we are able to identify and arrest these people."
As long as crimes like this are happening, customers worry others may try to take safety into their own hands.
“I don’t like guns but it makes you really want to start carrying a concealed weapon,” Loganville customer Kathy Sikora said. “I think that is what’s going to start happening, there is going to be more and more people carrying concealed weapons.”
The gunmen have covered their faces with hoodies and bandannas. Police don’t have a good description of the suspects. But they are hoping surveillance video may help the investigation.