Victim says assailants first asked to use his cell phone
Two men slashed a gay bar patron’s face with a knife during a robbery on Travis Street on Aug. 22 at about 1:15 a.m.
Robert Acker, 53, said he had just left the Hideaway on Buena Vista Street and was walking to a friend’s home on Travis Street when he was attacked.
“They cut me on the side of the face and took all of my stuff,” Acker said. “They tried to get my car, but I wasn’t near it. I began babbling incoherently, and they didn’t push it.”
One of the two men involved in the attack ordered Acker to “give me everything or your life,” according to a Dallas Police report. When Acker refused, one of the suspects made a 3-inch cut on his face.
“They cut me on the side of the face sort of in the shape of an Elvis sideburn,” Acker said.
The men took his keys, $45 in cash, a credit card and a debit card, Acker said. The men spent about $100 on the debit card before it was cancelled, but they did not use the credit card, he said.
“They even took my lighter and my cigarettes,” Acker said. “They left my breath mints. That’s all I had left.”
The men first approached Acker with a request to borrow his cell phone as he walked on the sidewalk, according to the police report. Acker handed his phone to one of the suspects, who then punched him in the face before the second suspect slashed and robbed him, according to the report.
“They probably saw me leaving the bar and walking down the street,” Acker said.
Acker described his attackers as young African-American men no older than 21. They drove an “old beat-up” two-door foreign car, he said.
“One of them had extremely long braided hair, and he wore thick, dark glasses,” Acker said. “I thought he was a girl at first because the hair was so long.”
Acker said after he was assaulted he returned to the Hideaway where a 911 call was made. He filed a report with Dallas police officers and was transported to Parkland Hospital for emergency medical care.
“They stitched me up, and I hope it doesn’t leave much of a scar,” Acker said. “I was a little upset, but I’ve calmed down. Now, I’m more angry than anything.”
Acker praised the police officers and Parkland Hospital emergency workers for their courtesy and professionalism.
“They were great,” Acker said.
Acker said he had thought prior to the assault that he had been careful when he went out. He wears no jewelry and dresses plain, he said.
“I’m certainly being a lot more careful even though I thought I was being careful enough,” Acker said. “It’s just a matter of trying to be extremely aware. But sometimes if you are in the wrong place it doesn’t matter what you do.”
Acker said he’s finding out that most people who hear about the incident also have stories to tell about being mugged, he said.
“It’s dangerous to walk alone,” Acker said. “But it’s almost impossible to get someone to walk with you.”
Acker said he is determined not to let the experience keep him at home. He has continued to go out to socialize.
“I can’t just stay home,” Acker said. “I’m not going to be afraid.”
Dallas Police Department Sgt. Keith Allen said he advises people who are walking alone at night not to allow anyone to engage them in conversation for any reason.
“That emboldens criminals when someone is cooperative like that,” Allen said.
Allen said pedestrians should be suspicious of anyone who tries to stop them late at night when no one else is around.
“It seems for whatever reason his defense mechanisms didn’t really kick in here,” Allen said. “He obviously wasn’t thinking anything bad could happen.”
Allen said pedestrians in similar situations should attempt to reach a well-lit place where there are other people and call 911.
“We would be happy to come out and prevent something from happening if we possibly can,” Allen said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007
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