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Police probe second robbery at same spot along Tobacco Trail

Posted July 16, 2013
Updated July 17, 2013

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— A woman was robbed at gunpoint on the American Tobacco Trail near Otis Street in Durham Tuesday evening, police said, the same general location where a man was robbed earlier this month.

Police are investigating whether the two robberies are related.

The victim told police she was rollerblading on the trail around 7:15 p.m. when a man with a gun approached her and took her cellphone. She was not injured.

The suspect, who was wearing a black T-shirt, red Adidas shoes and a black doo-rag, ran away toward Otis Street, police said. He ditched the phone, which police recovered a short distance from the crime scene.

On July 5, also near Otis Street, a man was robbed of his cellphone and MP3 player by a man with a gun.

The incidents are the first reported robberies on the trail this year, after 14 reports of robberies and assaults in 2012.

Police have increased patrols in the area, and volunteers with the Trail Watch Program also keep an eye on the 7-mile stretch of trail that runs through Durham.

Monroe Boatwright, who lives nearby, said the crimes are frustrating.

"You live in a neighborhood, and it's happening in your neighborhood. It gives your neighborhood a bad name," he said.

"Once you get a bad name, then everybody wants to stay away from this neighborhood and then, pretty soon, it will drift over into the houses."

95 Comments

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  • Glock Ranger Jul 17, 2013

    The information you posted, doggypoos, is for hunters, only. There are no restrictions for personal protection. And, if you're going to carry a firearm for personal protection, please make sure it's loaded. Otherwise, leave it at home so the crook doesn't take it, throw the cell phone away, and use the gun elsewhere. REALLY?!?!?

    The information on the website is misleading. It leads one to believe that the rules apply to non-hunters. That information only applies to hunters.

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Jul 17, 2013

    I wonder if criminals who carry their guns on the trail, will be certain it's UNloaded? Law abiding citizens do. That means: LAC carries a gun, unloaded + Confronted by a person carrying a gun, LOADED = very likely trouble.

    I think that is crazy! Do they really think criminals are going to abide by the rules, while LAC DO? Something needs to change!

  • whatelseisnew Jul 17, 2013

    "The following word best sums up Durhams Govt top to bottom: in·ef·fec·tive [in-i-fek-tiv] Show IPA adjective 1. not effective; not producing results; ineffectual: ineffective efforts; ineffective remedies. 2. inefficient or incompetent; incapable: an ineffective manager. 3. lacking in artistic effect, as a literary work, theatrical production, or painting."

    The reality is NO city government is effective at STOPPING crime. There will just never be enough police available to just happen to be on the spot when a criminal act takes place. Mostly, the police come into play after the fact. Higher numbers of patrols can serve as a deterrent, but these trails are ideal places for people to lie in wait and rob someone.

  • issymayake Jul 17, 2013

    jdupree...we don't have those problems on the 28 miles of the Neuse River Greenway Trail. I wonder if it is because the NRGT posted to allow legal concealed carry of a handgun?
    joeBob

    Are you sure about that? http://triangle.news14.com/content/top_stories/695324/police-warn-of-assaults-on-raleigh-s-neuse-river-greenway-trail

  • doggypoos Jul 17, 2013

    Is it illegal to carry a legal concealed pistol on the trail? If so where can that info be found?

    You can carry a weapon on the trail open or concealed but it has to be unloaded. Its on the website that hunters and sportsmen use the trail and anyone that uses the trail to be watchful for horses and patrons with weapons on the trail and that its normal. Durham police however will try to tell you otherwise. Again though as long as it is unloaded it should not be an issue and if it is concealed you must have a concealed permit. With the extra police force now you may want to refrain and wait til they approve the green way and trails concealed carry they will soon approve.

  • lizzz38 Jul 17, 2013

    The advice is to carry your cell phone with you so you can call for help. That's just one more valuable to be stolen from you. I think I'll carry 2 phones- my broken one, which I'll happily hand over, and the real one, hidden from view, that I call 911 on afterwards.

  • Mr Davis Jul 17, 2013

    The following word best sums up Durhams Govt top to bottom:
    in·ef·fec·tive [in-i-fek-tiv] Show IPA
    adjective
    1.
    not effective; not producing results; ineffectual: ineffective efforts; ineffective remedies.
    2.
    inefficient or incompetent; incapable: an ineffective manager. 3. lacking in artistic effect, as a literary work, theatrical production, or painting.

  • joeBob Jul 17, 2013

    jdupree...we don't have those problems on the 28 miles of the Neuse River Greenway Trail. I wonder if it is because the NRGT posted to allow legal concealed carry of a handgun?

  • lizzz38 Jul 17, 2013

    I like the idea of plainclothes policemen patrolling the trail. People might feel safer with more police presence, but if anyone's going to catch criminals, they won't do it while wearing a uniform. The robbers and bad guys will lay low while uniforms are around and come out when they think easy targets are there. If a few get caught, maybe the others will take notice that the Durham PD means business!

  • jdupree Jul 17, 2013

    These isolated walking trails are a perfect place for predators of many types. While they would be nice if every one was civilized, we live in a world that includes drug dealors, robbers, rapist, gangs and the like. Gang initiations include killings perfect strangers. Robbers and rapist take no explanation. Cities need to rethink these trails and eliminate the isolated areas and put more inside city parks that can be lit and policed more easily.

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