Local News

Police: Hispanics Targeted in Armed Robberies

Posted March 20, 2008 10:21 p.m. EDT
Updated March 20, 2008 11:27 p.m. EDT

— Police believe that an armed robber repeatedly targeted people of Latino descent in downtown over the past three months.

Investigators said a dozen armed robberies happened within six blocks of each other in an area surrounding Lenoir Street. Shots were fired during two incidents.

One victim was shot in the abdomen, and the second suffered a wound in the thigh, police said.

"The victims in these cases have all been Hispanic, and they were all committed fairly close to one another," Jim Sughrue, a spokesman for Raleigh police, said.

Residents were robbed at gunpoint inside their single-family home, while a robber hit an apartment building down the street twice. Just around the corner, another home invasion occurred.

Advocates said they are not surprised that Hispanics are being targeted. Many fear that going to law enforcement would result in deportation, even if they are legal, said Antonio Asion, with the advocacy group El Pueblo.

"A lot of the criminals involved in this know that the Latinos are not going to report  this type of crime," Asion said.

Those who are in the country illegally and do not have bank accounts are easy targets, Asion said.

"They can't have any of these ways of safeguarding their money, so they end up carrying it with them," he said.

Investigators are handing out fliers and offered a reward for anyone who helps solve the string of armed robberies.

Police described the suspect as a young, tall, thin black man. He has been seen wearing a white cloth around his face.

Anyone with information about the robberies or shootings was asked to call Raleigh police at 919-890-3335.