“We’re getting very close,” he said. “I’m confident we will be making some arrests … very soon.”
Evenson was responding to the request for an update from Mayor Bob Taylor at the outset of this week’s council meeting. A total of five armed robberies have taken place in the city since November – four in the last three weeks. The most recent was last Thursday, when a man walking near the intersection of Maple and Second streets was robbed by six individuals, all estimated to be 16 years old. One black and five white suspects using a black, semi-automatic handgun took the victim’s wallet and fled on foot. No one was injured.
The incident comes on the heels of two other downtown robberies. On Dec. 23, a pair of women walking in the 800 block of First Street were robbed of their purses by a group of six or seven males, one of whom also used a black, semi-automatic pistol. In that case, the victims, who were not injured, described their attackers as Hispanic.
On Dec. 28, a 17-year-old was robbed of cash and personal items by three individuals near the intersection of Pine Street and Diablo Way. The suspects were described as black and between 17 and 19 years old. A semi-automatic handgun was used in that incident, and once again, no one was hurt.
The other robberies took place at Walgreens store on Balfour Road, and at Kohl’s department store on Lone Tree Way, according to police. Those incidents each involved two adult male suspects between 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet 3 inches, either black or Hispanic, and weighing between 180 and 300 pounds. No one was injured in those incidents either.
In addition to the stepped-up patrols in the downtown area as well as the Lone Tree Way and Balfour Road corridors, police have circulated a crime alert bulletin describing the events and recommending countermeasures to be taken for safety. Details of additional enforcement measures being taken by police were not released.
Councilman Erick Stonebarger, in response to Evenson’s report, said the council, city manager and PD were all paying close attention to developments. The additional measures should be enough to bring the cases to a successful conclusion, he said.
“We want the public to know that the toolbox that’s in place should be enough to take care of the spike” in robberies, he said.
Stonebarger also asked that the council receive a report on the city’s anti-graffiti laws. He said he’s noticed a recent increase in graffiti in the city, much of which is gang-related. Last week, police made two arrests in a number of graffiti cases near Village and Broderick drives. Although it’s not known if the recent rash of robberies is gang-related, the downtown area has also seen an increase in gang tags, and Stonebarger said he wants to be sure current statutes give police the power they need to curtail it.
For more information about the recent robberies, click here.