Latino newspaper latest victim of crime in Hispanic community

DORAVILLE - When the news hounds at Atlanta Latino uprooted to new Doraville digs last week, they hardly suspected their biweekly newspaper operation would become the news.

Staffers settled into a two-story office on Amwiler Road on Thursday, only to return the next day - the very day alarms were scheduled to be installed - to find $10,000 in computers and design equipment vanished.

Thieves apparently lied in wait until the office was vacated, popped a back-door lock and grabbed what they could, said Farid Sadri, the company's owner and president.

The crime, he said, is all too common in the pocket of western Gwinnett south of Norcross. He's caught wind of about a dozen theft cases there in the last week, he said.

"It's a common thing," he said. "They watch for you to move in - that's when they hit you."

Gwinnett police have no suspects or witnesses to the burglary, according to a police report.

The Hispanic community newspaper, which also airs a weekly Spanish-language TV show on Telemundo, has detailed property crime and home-invasion robberies in recent stories. Police say the immigrant community, and especially Hispanics, is targeted because its residents are known to carry cash and balk at calling police, often times fearful of deportation.

"Unfortunately, (thieves) feel this segment is more vulnerable," Sadri said. "The criminals are exploiting these two factors."

Judith Martinez, the company's editor-in-chief, said her staff is taking precautionary measures, such as leaving work a tad earlier and installing security cameras. If there's a silver lining, she said, the burglary happened on the paper's off week, meaning the next deadline is doable.

That's not to say starting up again will go smoothly.

"My computer I've had for the last seven years was lifted - my pictures, my memories," she said. "I didn't take the precautions to back up everything, everyday."