Local News

Durham police investigate string of robberies targeting Hispanic victims

Posted November 29, 2018 4:25 p.m. EST
Updated November 29, 2018 5:42 p.m. EST

— Durham police are searching for the people responsible for a series of robberies that authorities say have targeted Hispanic victims.

Durham police said 13 robberies have been reported this week, and the suspects in each case displayed a gun before taking wallets, cash and cellphones from victims.

"Victims are coming home from the store or work, or they're getting ready to go to work and as they're walking to their car, sitting in their car, texting in their car, they're being approached," said Cpl. Frey, with the Durham Police Department.

Frey says the robberies are spread out geographically, but it appears that the people responsible are targeting apartment complexes with large Hispanic populations.

The following four robberies were reported within one hour Tuesday night:

  • 7 p.m. at 2920 Chapel Hill Road
  • 7:30 p.m. at 4230 Garrett Road
  • 7:40 p.m. at 1113 Hearthside Street
  • 7:50 a.m. at 2607 Lexington Street

Previous robberies have been reported in the:

  • 4200 block of Garret Road
  • 300 block of Moline Street
  • 1400 block of West Chapel Hill Street
  • 2400 block of Vesson Avenue
  • 1900 block of Guess Road
  • 300 block of South LaSalle Street
  • 1300 block of Morreene Road

"I think it's really sad. A lot of these families are just trying to get by," said Tyler King, who lives nearby.

Police said all of the robberies took place in apartment complex parking lots or in front of homes. The majority of incidents occurred between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., although a few occurred during the early morning hours, authorities said.

In most cases, victims reported seeing two people who had their faces partially covered with scarves or hoodies.

"I'm going to keep my doors locked. Make sure my neighbors aren't walking around at night...," said Emily Andes, who lives in the area.

Frey said some of the victims reported being threatened with a handgun or a rifle.

"These individuals are armed, so fighting back would possibly cause them to react causing you to be shot and injured," Frey said.

The trend is a concern for Councilwoman Javiera Caballero.

"This is a population that, in my opinion, is one of the most marginalized in Durham," she said. "And to see them targeted this way is awful."

Anybody with information is asked to call Durham police at 919-560-4440 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

Durham police offered the following tips to help people avoid potential robberies:

  • Do not loiter in parking lots. Some of the robberies occurred while people were sitting in their vehicles.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Call 911 immediately if you see any suspicious activity or witness a crime.
  • Have your keys ready when approaching to enter your apartment or your vehicle.
  • Do not carry large amounts of money or jewelry.
  • Do not walk alone at night. Dark areas give robbers the advantage to commit crime.
  • If someone is following you, do not drive directly to your neighborhood. Instead, drive to a well-lit area.
  • When you are walking, avoid strangers or groups of strangers.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
  • Do not open your home door to strangers. Call 911 immediately.

Report all incidents of crime. Police cannot investigate and detain suspects if you do not report crime.

·   Do not resist if you are being robbed. Always cooperate with the robber. Your life is more important than items of material value.

·   Obtain a good description of the suspect so you can report it to the police and call 911 immediately.