Police: Two teens arrested for robbing members of the Nepali community

Updated: 06/30/2014 5:48 PM
Created: 06/30/2014 12:32 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

There were arrests Monday in a case some are calling bullying. Refugees in the northwest part of the city are victims of crime. On Monday, the Rochester Police Department says two teenagers were arrested for victimizing some members of the Nepalese community by robbing and assaulting them.

The police chief says that part of the problem was Nepalese community members were sometimes afraid to report these crimes to police. Another problem is the language barrier. So now the department is working with members of the community to educate them about how the laws work here and how police can help.

Jon Hand, Democrat and Chronicle, said, “They don’t necessarily trust the police, in some cases, because in their homeland, people who wore uniforms weren’t always the person who came to help you, sometimes, it was an oppressor of yours.” 

As part of News10NBC’s partnership with the Democrat and Chronicle and our ongoing campaign called Unite Rochester, reporter Jon Hand told News10NBC’s Janet Lomax, about the issues that some in the Nepalese community face.

Hand said, “They will boldly walk into people’s houses. We interviewed families who were home during the day and someone came into their house and took their TV and walked out with it. They feel very helpless.”

On Monday, Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli told News10NBC what the department is doing to help. 

Chief Michael Ciminelli, Rochester Police Department, said, “We are in the process of scheduling a crime prevention meeting with the community, so we can help educate them on how to  protect themselves and how they can work with the police.”

Part of the process is creating a community liaison to work with the police.

Commander Wayne Harris, Rochester Police Department, said, “Will assist us, not only with direct communication with the community, but also helping us set up interpretation if that is needed anytime in the future.”

The chief said they do not know why this group is being targeted, but they understand the hesitation toward police.

Chief Ciminelli said, “Our criminal justice system is very different, our police system, how we do things, our investigative system, our laws, our court process, there is great variation around the world. We would be in the same situation if we were going to another country. We would have the same lack of understanding. Whatever the reason is, whatever the motivation is, we are not going to tolerate it.”

The Democrat and Chronicle was first alerted to the criminal activity by an advocate for the refugees. He was concerned this would escalate after hearing some refugees talk about arming themselves with machetes. 

Police want to send a clear message that this will not be tolerated and they will continue to work with this part of our community to keep them safe.

The teens are charged with robbery, grand larceny and criminal mischief.

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