Crime

Tacoma man gets 47 years for home robberies in Asian community

A 21-year-old man was sentenced to 47 years in prison Monday for his part in a string of home-invasion robberies that terrorized Tacoma’s Asian community in 2012.

A Pierce County jury earlier this year convicted Azariah Ross of 16 counts, including first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and unlawful imprisonment.

Prosecutors argued he was among four people who committed seven robberies between Jan. 25 and Aug. 26, 2012.

In each robbery, two or three armed bandits broke into a home, threatened the people inside, sometimes tied them up before stealing cash, jewelry and valuables.

Detectives said the robbers, who were members or associates of a local street gang, targeted families of Vietnamese, Filipino and Cambodian descent.

My fears of the Khmer Rouge regime came flooding back as I found myself tied up with my two sons and wife … as if waiting to be called into execution.

One robbery victim, in a 2012 letter to the court

One woman sent a letter to the court shortly after Ross and his co-defendants were arrested and charged in September 2012.

“After break-in, I am very scared to stay in my home,” she wrote. “Windows broken, and the men told me if I tell police they will come back and shoot me and husband.”

Ross’ attorney, Barbara Corey, argued later that her client did not get a fair trial, but Judge Elizabeth Martin declined to overturn the jury’s verdict.

$80,000Value of cash, jewelry and other valuables stolen in the robberies.

Previously convicted were Azias Ross, 23; Nolan Chouap, 22; and Soy Oeung, 24. Azias Ross was sentenced to 42 years in prison, Choup to 45 years and Oeung to 34 years.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644

adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com

@TNTAdam

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