- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Authorities in New Jersey announced charges Monday against four Texas residents in connection with a string of home invasion robberies that targeted the Asian-Indian community in Middlesex County.

The robberies began late in October and occurred in Edison, South Plainfield and Old Bridge. Residents have told police the armed robberies have occurred for a decade, often timed around the Hindu holiday of Diwali, when gold jewelry is frequently given as a gift.

County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said Monday the four Houston residents - 39-year-old Chaka Castro; 34-year-old Juan Olaya; 22-year-old Octavius Scott and 19-year-old Johnisha Williams - face numerous charges, including conspiracy, robbery, burglary, kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Bail has been set for each defendant at $1.25 million.

Carey said investigators believe Castro targeted the homes and orchestrated the robberies. Scott and Olaya allegedly entered the homes and restrained the families at gunpoint. Williams is alleged to have been the getaway driver on several of the robberies.

The suspects were apprehended last week in Georgia, Michigan, New York and Texas.

It wasn’t known if they have retained attorneys.

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