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4 Bandits Raid Wedding Party of Vietnamese in Garden Grove

January 03, 1986|MARK LANDSBAUM and JOHN NEEDHAM | Times Staff Writers

Four masked bandits burst into a Garden Grove home Thursday night, tying up and robbing 10 people in what police said was the latest in a series of such raids in Orange County's Vietnamese community.

On New Year's Day, nine to 12 masked gunmen stormed a party at another Garden Grove home a short distance away, demanding money and jewelry and sending many of the 60 Vietnamese guests screaming into the street.

The assault Thursday night was in the 10000 block of Jennrich Avenue, where the intruders entered the home of Son Nguyen as family members gathered to prepare for the wedding of one of Nguyen's sons Saturday.

Police Sgt. Dale Farley said one of the robbers fired a shot into the roof, but no one was injured. He said the four, believed to be from 15 to 20 years old, gained entrance by following a family member through the door.

Among items taken were a tape deck and an undisclosed amount of jewelry. Investigators were still interviewing the victims late in the evening.

In the incident Wednesday evening at the Tu Vuong home in the 12000 block of Gloria Street, guests--including children--were suddenly confronted by as many as a dozen masked young men who poured through the front door with semiautomatic weapons.

One robber hit a guest on the head with a gun butt. About five shots were fired at onlookers when the attackers later fled in an automobile, but no one was hit.

Police said Thursday that they still did not know how much money and jewelry was taken.

Confusion, Language Barrier

They were trying to sort out the sometimes conflicting versions of what happened by interviewing the 30 or so adults who were at the house when officers arrived after the attack. Many of the victims do not speak English.

A Vietnamese woman, who lives with several relatives at the house, said the robbers came in through a side yard gate. Brandishing guns, they confronted guests on the rear patio and shouted orders in Vietnamese, ushering people into the house, she said.

"They said: 'Everybody stay' or they would kill them," she recalled. "So nobody listened to them and everybody run."

The woman, who did not want her name used, said one guest broke a kitchen window and leaped through it to escape. About 20 children inside the house remained in bedrooms during the two- or three-minute episode, while many adults fled to the street and some drove away, she said.

Authorities said numerous Vietnamese families have been robbed in their homes by young Vietnamese in Garden Grove and surrounding areas in recent years.

Garden Grove Police Sgt. Bruce Beauchamp said residential robberies were frequent in Garden Grove in 1984 but that the New Year's raid is the largest incident he could recall.

"We went through a rash of them where they were doing it fairly often a year or so ago," he said.

In neighboring Westminster, Police Detective Marc Frank said the robbers may prey on other Vietnamese because "they feel they can intimidate the victims from not talking to the police either by threating them or, in some cases, pistol whipping them."

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