A police SWAT team stormed the home of a Laotian family early Friday and arrested five men - including Chansamone Sayarath, 20, of Sandy, Utah - who allegedly held the family hostage at gunpoint overnight after breaking in to rob them.
Police made their move after the captors released their six hostages unharmed about 5 a.m.Officers first lobbed stun grenades into the front of the home at 136 Babcock St., immobilizing the suspects by setting off loud noises and bright flashes of light. Police then rushed inside a rear door and arrested the suspects, believed to be members of an Asian gang, Police Chief Bernard Gannon said.
None of the captors was injured, police said.
Four of the suspects will be arraigned in Providence Municipal Court on Monday. The fifth will be arraigned as a juvenile in Family Court, officials said.
The four adult defendants were identified as Sayarath, Takounsak Phomveha, 30 and Amphone Phommachak, 23, both of Lowell, Mass., and Sarshinh Keovongsach, 20, who has no permanent address. The juvenile suspect's name was not revealed. The five were charged with robbery, breaking and entering, kidnapping and possible firearms violations.
Police said the gang broke into the home about 8 p.m. and took the unidentified family members hostage when they returned home. Initially, eight people were held, but the robbers released a teenage girl and boy during the early stages of the ordeal.
Gannon said the robbers threatened to kill one hostage every hour and later threatened to cut off their fingers and toss them out a window, but did not carry out the threats.
Officials withheld the hostages' names for safety reasons, but said the family worked at an Asian grocery market near their home.
The home invasion was similar to a series of Asian-on-Asian attacks in the Greater Boston area during the past several months, in which youth gangs have invaded the homes of local businessmen, robbed them and terrorized family members before fleeing.