September 30, 2006
In a little over 24 hours, six innocent men and women aged 21 to 64 were robbed at gunpoint in the middle of the night. Four were held up by the same weapon--a sawed off shot gun--and authorities say the crimes may be gang-related.
All six victims were robbed within seven miles of each other.
One victim who did not want to be identified is still terrified.
"I am so scared," he said. "I can't sleep, I can't go to work...you don't know what it's like till it happens to you."
Some victims were held up by a silver handgun, but in four cases, a sawed-off shotgun was the weapon of choice.
"When you've got a sawed-off shotgun, you've got a smaller size but the same amount of firepower, so it's bad," says Inv. Tom Johnson of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
One of the four robberies occurred at 601 Eve Street. By day, children play near the streets...but early Thursday morning a 21-year-old man walking home was robbed.
"They're targets of opportunity," Inv. Johnson says. "It's dark, there's no one out...they're easy prey."
All six robberies occurred sometime after 10:30 p.m., and all the victims were robbed during their ordinary nightly routine. Three were robbed while walking or driving home from work, and the other three were robbed in their driveways or homes.
Residential streets are often poorly lit, making innocent people walking or driving down the streets an easy target.
The victim we spoke to says he will never forget how it happened, with the robbers pulling up and slamming on the brakes beside him.
Inv. Johnson says in order to protect ourselves, we must all be on the lookout. He says it is possible that one or more of these robberies is gang-related.
In the four robberies that involved a sawed-off shotgun, witnesses say they were robbed by a group of young black males who were driving a newer-model black Dodge Neon Wednesday night and a '95 gold Honda Accord on Thursday.
No vehicles matching those descriptions have been reported stolen.