Trend in invasions continues

NORCROSS -- The trend of home invasion robbers holding themselves out as police before plundering Gwinnett residences continues.

The latest incident happened Thursday on Warners Trail in Norcross, less than a mile from a bloody May 5 attack at a Steve Reynolds Boulevard residence, during which a man was beaten senseless in front of his three daughters.

Victims in the Thursday incident -- a self-employed carpet cleaner, 25, and his girlfriend and cousin, both 19-year-old waitresses -- told police roughly eight black-clad gunmen kicked in the door and yelled "police." They carried guns described by the male victim as a Ruger P45, Beretta and a silver revolver "with an unusually long barrel," according to a Gwinnett police report released Tuesday.

The suspects were brash, high-fiving each other during the 25-minute ordeal and bragging about how much clothing they were stealing, the man told police. They kicked and beat his face with a handgun, demanding the keys to his Hummer H2 in the driveway, the report states.

The robbers made off with a PlayStation 3, several hundred dollars in cash, clothing, and one victim's Chanel purse, promising to return the next day and pillage anew, the report states.

As in the May 5 robbery, where a young victim counted roughly eight assailants, the robbers stole recording equipment wired to a surveillance camera and punched holes in the walls.

No suspects have been identified, said Gwinnett police Cpl. Edwin Ritter. For now, the most recent case appears isolated, he said.

No serious injuries were reported.

"The only similarity is that, for the past few years, the trend has been to announce some type of law enforcement entity" upon entering, Ritter said. "It's possible they announce this as a diversion ... to reduce the chances of resistance from the victims."

The latest home invasion marks the fourth instance in recent months -- and the third since April -- that armed gunmen either posed or announced themselves as police, FBI agents or other law enforcement in the process of overpowering victims at home.

History shows that a high percentage of this style of crime involves drugs, police and others have said. But victims at all four recent attacks have told authorities they were targeted by mistake, that robbers had stormed in the wrong door.

"These are horrific crimes and are diligently investigated, the same as any other violent crime," Ritter said.