Rash of armed robberies targeting individuals

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August 15, 2006

It was a weekend full of armed robberies...but businesses weren't the only ones hit.

Deputies say the targets were mostly individuals...and that people are making it easy for the crooks.

How vulnerable are you?

Little things you are doing may be attracting danger, and deputies say you should be extra careful after this weekend's unusually high number of robberies.

Deputies are working on almost a dozen violent robberies.

The unusual and dangerous thing about this weekend's thefts is that most were people rather than businesses.

And deputies say thieves are on the lookout for people who appear to be easy targets.

A simple trip to the gas station turned into a robbery at gunpoint for Sunco customers.

Eddra Martin goes there all the time and worries that she might be next.

"It's not safe anywhere, but to know it's right across the street...that's really spooky," she said.

She's worried because it happened nine times in just four days, and the reports show most of the suspects target people.

"We always come in groups," she said. "I never go alone, and I tell everyone to stay focused. If you see something that look weird, turn around."

Sgt. Richard Roundtree says that's smart. He says that some things people do, like searching for keys at your car or walking alone, attract thieves' attention.

"Without a doubt they're riding around, looking for a person in a vulnerable situation," he said.

Officers say most of the victims were walking alone at one, two, and even three o'clock in the morning.

Friday, one man says he was held up at gunpoint on 7th Street. Another was beaten and robbed on 3rd.

Saturday, a man told deputies he was robbed at gunpoint and kidnapped at a Deans Bridge Raceway gas station.

Then Sunday, a victim reported a violent robbery near Center West Drive.

And Monday, one man reported armed robbery on Leroy Street, and another was reported near French Market Grille.

"We do know based on physical description there are two, possibly three groups operating in the areas robbed," Sgt. Roundtree said.

And officers say those groups may be responsible for the three businesses held up over the weekend.

Movie Gallery on Washington Road, Blockbuster on Peach Orchard, and Sunco on Mike Padgett were all robbed.

"We have kids that come back and forth, sometimes by themselves," Eddra said. "It's not safe...just not safe."

Now, Eddra Martin and the rest of us have to be a little more careful.

Between all nine robberies, officers say the suspects took over $2000 in cash, jewelry, and electronics. One man reported his social security card stolen.