Home Invasions Targeting Hispanic Victims

A group of Hispanic men are the latest victims in a spree of violent home invasions. Since the beginning of February, Columbus police say 25 Hispanic men and women have been victims of armed robberies.

"Not scary, but I was surprised," said Carlos Mancilla, a robbery victim.

Carlos Mancilla's English is broken at best, but he's able to describe how five or six gunmen burst into this mobile home, and robbed him and his friends. "The people, no knock, just open the door, and came inside," he said.

Mancilla says the suspects all had guns, which they used to force him and the others onto the ground. "And when a couple of Hispanic victims were hesitant in responding fast enough to the suspects demands, they were assaulted," said Columbus Police Lt. Mark Starling.

Columbus police say two victims were taken to the hospital, then released. Investigators say this is just one of several cases in the last six weeks, where Hispanic victims have been targeted by a group of gunmen.

"There's no common denominator as far as addresses, they're happening all over," said Starling.

Detectives are out questioning everyone they can about these cases. But they say it's difficult when you have little to go on. "Seems like every one of these reports that are coming to our attention, they're dressed the same, they're wearing masks or bandanas over their face," said Starling.

In other parts of the country where this has happened, police said Hispanics were targeted because many are afraid to report crimes to authorities...and they often keep cash at home.

In Monday's attack money, cell phones, and a red Ford pickup truck were taken. The only description they have of the gunmen is that they are young black men, possibly teenagers.