Your smart phone is not safe on McKinney Avenue, as DPD warns of thefts in Uptown

This message was sent out by the Dallas Police Department’s Central Patrol Division on Thursday night:

During the past few weeks, as the weather has warmed up, an increase in thefts in the Uptown area has been observed.

Two young males have been observed by witnesses taking property, primarily smart phones (iPhones in particular) from businesses in the Uptown area, especially McKinney Avenue. Patrons of restaurants and bars along McKinney avenue report thefts as well, with many of thefts in these businesses taking place both indoors and on outdoor patios.

In addition to smart phones, an iPad, purses, and other personal property have been taken.

Crowded areas are attractive to criminals because people are distracted, and because it is easy for a criminal to disappear into crowds after stealing items.

Please keep personal items secured. Keep phones and other small items, especially electronic items, inside your purse or pocket. Keep your purse strap secured to your body to help prevent purse snatch, and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid laying items down on your table and leaving them there. It has take only a second or two for items to be stolen off of table tops, literally from under the noses of victims.

If you observe people whom you believe to be suspicious don’t hesitate to report to 911. Make note of their description (sex, race, height, weight, hair color, hair length, clothing color and description), what activities make you suspicious, and what direction the suspect(s) leaves the area. It is very likely that the suspect(s) will be gone by the time police arrive, so a good description will help officers when they search the area.

DPD’s warning followed an e-mail earlier this week from Nancy Weinberger, Oak Lawn Crime Watch volunteer, who says thefts have been reported at Dallas Fine Wines at 3518 Oak Lawn, Black Friar Pub at 2621 McKinney, and Idle Rich Pub at 2622 McKinney:

This was a big problem during the summer time. It looks like the same 2 suspects are at it again. This past summer they hit several businesses, not just bars, but all business types. Please pass this on to all of the business owners that you have contacts with and just anybody that lives in the Uptown area.

The same two suspects seem to be committing Thefts in the Uptown area, the suspects go into a Bar/Restaurant distract the employees/customers and take a purse or cell phones.  Suspects are two B/M’s one is 6’2 160 and the other is shorter 5’9 150 and they flee in a White Ford Crown Victoria parked nearby. They appear to be maybe 20ish or younger.

—  John Wright

CRIME ALERT: Beware of burglars who removed tires from vehicle parked in Turtle Creek area

The following arrived in our Inbox this afternoon from Oak Lawn crime watch volunteer Nancy Weinberger:

I got email from [DPD's] central [division] about BMVs … 2008 Chevy SUV parked on Sale street 3100 block (Sale is a block off Turtle Creek towards Oak Lawn–it is a very short street) … had all 4 tires and rims removed while left parked on street.

WATCH for vehicles driving slowly through your neighborhood … probably a truck … looking to do the same to parked vehicles …

PLEASE REMEMBER TO REPORT ANYTHING THAT LOOKS SUSPICIOUS TO YOU. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. … I know 911 gets tired of hearing from me … but I call any time I see anything that looks funny just in case.

Better safe than sorry.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Gay couple burned out of home; trans discrimination study; marriage updates

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A gay couple in Clayton, N.C., was burned out of their home (above) in a possible hate crime on Friday after suffering anti-gay harassment repeatedly over the last year. A neighbor says the couple had their tires slashed, had a gay slur written on their home in marker and received a note with a gay slur in their mailbox telling them to move. Police, however, still aren’t convinced it was a hate crime. Watch a video report here.

2. The largest study ever on discrimination against transgender people showed that 41 percent have attempted suicide, compared to 1.6 percent of the general population. The study, by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, also showed that trans people are four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, and that 26 percent said they’d lost a job because of their gender identity/expression. Read more here, or download the full study here.

3. Same-sex marriage updates from Maryland, Rhode Island and Indiana.

—  John Wright

Report: Dallas police arrest suspect in 2 recent armed robberies in Oak Lawn, Uptown

Dallas police have arrested a suspect in two recent armed robberies in the Oak Lawn and Uptown areas, according to an e-mail we received late Friday afternoon from Nancy Weinberger, a volunteer with the Oak Lawn crime watch group. We’re still trying to confirm the arrest with Dallas police. Both robberies involved the victim being kidnapped and forced to drive, at gunpoint, to ATMs to withdraw cash. The first incident began late Sunday night at the Office Depot on Oak Lawn Avenue, and the second occurred Monday at the Katy Trail Animal Hospital on McKinney Avenue. The Dallas Morning News picked up the story Friday morning, two days after we reported it here on Instant Tea. Anyhow, here’s Weinberger’s e-mail:

I have been advised that DPD has made an arrest related to the two recent
robberies…where the people were forced to drive to ATM’s to withdraw $$$$.
One occurred in the Office Depot parking lot about 11 pm Sunday night and
the other occurred about 6:45 am Monday in the 4100 block of McKinney.
There was an article about the incidents in this morning’s newspaper.
Suspect sounded like same person. Arrest made early this am.

Thanks to Chief Aziz and Lt Overstreet for getting me this information as
quickly as possible.

Have a good weekend!

Reminder: This doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.

UPDATE: According to a press release from DPD, the suspect is facing charges related to the McKinney Avenue incident but not necessarily the first incident on Oak Lawn Avenue. The suspect, whose name hasn’t been released, was nabbed on Thursday night after he was spotted leaving the Exxon station at Maple and Oak Lawn. Here’s the full release:

Notable Arrest by DPD

On September 27, 2010, at approximately 6:45 a.m., the suspect carjacked and robbed a complainant at gunpoint at 4151 McKinney Avenue. The suspect drove the complainant to an ATM where the complainant was forced to withdraw money.  The suspect then forced the complainant to drive to Ervay and Grand where the suspect fled on foot.  Investigators processed the crime scene and obtained forensic evidences which allowed them to identify the suspect.  Investigators walked an arrest warrant for the suspect.  After an attempt to locate the suspect at his residence rendered negative results, the information was forwarded to each of the patrol divisions.  On September 30, 2010, at about 10:30pm, Central Deployment Unit observed the suspect leaving the Exxon Station at Maple and Oak Lawn.  The suspect was taken into custody.  The identity of the suspect will not be released at this time because investigators are waiting to conduct a photo line up.  The Aggravated Robbery incident is documented on incident number 269715X.

—  John Wright

Dallas police ‘ready to roll’ for gay Pride

DPD Deputy Chief Malik Aziz

Despite a recent rash of violent robberies involving gay bar patrons in Oak Lawn, a Dallas police official indicated Wednesday that people shouldn’t be at all reluctant to visit the area during the upcoming gay Pride weekend.

“We’re ready to roll,” said Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, who’s over DPD’s Northwest Division, which includes the Cedar Springs strip. “We’re going to make sure the area’s safe.”

Aziz made the comments following the monthly meeting of the Oak Lawn Apartment Managers and Stakeholders Crime Watch group, at the Oak Lawn Library.

During the meeting, Crime Watch members criticized DPD officials for failing to promptly notify them about last week’s aggravated robbery on Dickason Avenue, just a block from the Cedar Springs strip.

Nancy Weinberger, the leader of the Crime Watch group, said she didn’t learn about the Friday night incident until Tuesday.

“My issue is we’re not getting the information about assaults and armed robberies that happen in this neighborhood,” Weinberger told police officials during the meeting. “If somebody gets armed robbed or attacked in the neighborhood, I want to know about it.”

Aziz responded that there needs to be a “50-50 partnership” between police and citizens, meaning those who want information need to sign up for e-mails from DailyCrimeReport.com or search the department’s public website at DallasPolice.net. He said police officials can’t always send out alerts about every violent offense right away, partly because they don’t have the technological infrastructure to do so.

“I’ve got 50 percent, I’m going to work on that,” Aziz told the group. “The other 50 percent is you.”

Aziz said after the meeting that police have no leads in Friday’s robbery, which occurred in the same block where Jimmy Lee Dean was brutally attacked two years ago. Aziz said he’s “perplexed” by the incident and frustrated that despite an overall drop in violent crime in the area this year, police continue to battle the perception that it’s unsafe around the bars.

“I think we need more eyes and ears and more engagement in this neighborhood,” he said. “Unfortunately we can’t be in every place at once.”

Aziz said one way for people to get involved is to sign up for the Volunteers In Patrol program. They can do so by calling 214-670-6561.

—  John Wright