Local News

Man robbed at gunpoint on American Tobacco Trail in Durham

Posted July 5, 2013

— Durham police are investigating after a man reported being robbed at gunpoint on the American Tobacco Trail Friday afternoon.

The victim told police that he was on the trail near Otis Street around 1:20 p.m. when an armed man stole his cellphone and MP3 player.

The suspect was described as a black man in his late teens to early 20s, standing about 6 feet tall with a flat-top haircut. He was wearing a gray shirt and shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

Police have increased patrols and vowed to improve safety on the trail after numerous reports of robberies and assaults in 2012. Volunteers with the Trail Watch Program also keep an eye on the 7-mile stretch through Durham, reporting any suspicious activity to police and offering advice to the runners, walkers and bikers who use the trail.

Trail Watch volunteer Man robbed after months of calm on Tobacco Trail

"Have a cellphone. Keep an ear out. Keep an eye open," said Trail Watch volunteer Michael Williams. "Make eye contact with people when you see them on the trail. Make sure that somebody knows where you are."

Joanne Andrews said these crimes unfairly give the trail a bad name.

"It's a drag. It's not a deterrent," she said. "We're going to do the things we need to do to keep us safe and keep going."

21 Comments

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  • jackflash123 Jul 8, 3:21 p.m.

    "Many railroads go through parts of town that are less than safe. The same goes for the trails created when the active rail lines are abandoned. The neighborhoods don't change when a trail is established..."

    This is a good point.

    I ride a portion of the ATT in Durham frequently. I think I miss the area where so many of these crimes occur. The worst I've ever had to deal w/ is a particular dog, and once I managed to sneak up on it once and started barking at it first, it never bothered me again.

    The ATT is an example of reusing an outdated resource in a creative, helpful way that benefits the community. It makes me angry that some would instead use it to take advantage of others.

  • fishon Jul 8, 9:55 a.m.

    The rules for the Wake County American Tobacco Trail say Firearms are prohibited except as allowed by Article 54B of NCGS Chapter 14
    This is the NC State concealed carry law and pertains to the other greenways in Wake County

    Why is the Durham County section different? Or is it?

  • The Anti Hans Jul 5, 7:57 p.m.

    I never jog on the trail without my .380 in my belly holster. This is why.

  • jmc3 Jul 5, 7:21 p.m.

    Many railroads go through parts of town that are less than safe. The same goes for the trails created when the active rail lines are abandoned. The neighborhoods don't change when a trail is established. I personally wouldn't walk any rail corridor in any larger city (including Raleigh), as well as many smaller towns (Rocky Mt, Goldsboro, etc.) simply because many of the areas around the tracks are not safe. That being said, the ATT does have it's own set of security issues that need to be addressed. I would hope however that the Durham haters who comment in this section will remember that these incidents can happen anywhere. I reference yesterday's story about the sentencing of the three men who killed the homeless man in Raleigh and stuffed him in a trashcan along the Walnut Creek trail as well as the recent sexual deviant roaming the Neuse Greenway.

  • valleyGirl Jul 5, 7:12 p.m.

    Oh come on, this is just hearsay.

  • Tax Man Jul 5, 7:02 p.m.

    We should just put a Durham cop or sheriff deputy every 50 feet of the ATT in Durham limits 24/7 and put cameras to cover the entire route. Personally that trail is not safe for anyone until you get out of Durham. Shame that Durham cannot control this one simple trail!

  • Dat MoFo Jul 5, 6:48 p.m.

    ""The suspect was described as a black man in his late teens to early 20s, standing about 6 feet tall with a flat-top haircut. He was wearing a gray shirt and shorts."

    What happened to the issue of not using race to identify a suspect?"

    I think they can use pretty much the same description for every crime in Durham.

  • Citizens Arrayest Jul 5, 6:46 p.m.

    Obvious lesson here is - Use the ATT , just not the part in Durham.

  • tarheelfan41 Jul 5, 6:36 p.m.

    If they had only banned guns from the trail this would never have happened...er...aaah... oh, I guess guns are in facted banned! Didn't the TH(criminal)UG get the memo? I'm sure if the TH(criminal)UG had known he would have not brought it to the robbery.

  • zacksmill Jul 5, 6:31 p.m.

    If Obama had a son that robbed people...

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