More robberies on the Katy Trail

Screen shot 2016-01-15 at 9.54.33 AMThe spate of violent robberies and attacks in the Oak Lawn area seems to have died down over the last month or so. But don’t be lulled into complacency.

Dallas police are investigating two robberies that happened in the last week along the Katy Trail, which is, if not actually in the gayborhood, is at least gayborhood-adjacent.

Police say the two offenses — one on Jan. 9 in Reverchon Park and the other on Jan. 13 near the American Airlines Center — do not appear to be related. But for those who have been paying attention to the attacks in Oak Lawn, one of the two sounds eerily familiar.

The first attack happened about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, as a 31-year-old female jogger left the trail and entered Reverchon Park. Police say a black male stepped in front of her and began yelling at her, “Give me all your money!”

Police say the way threw a $5 bill at the man, sprayed him with mace and ran away. The suspect did not follow her. He is described as about 23 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was wearing a gray goodie, gray beanie and black headphones.

Because the suspect didn’t threaten the woman and did not display a weapon, police are investigating the incident as a third degree felony.

The second attack happened Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 4:24 p.m. in the 1600 block of Lyte Street. The victim, this time a man, had just come of Katy Trail near the AAC when he was approached by two black men who “engaged him in conversation,” according to police. The victim kept walking but one of the men attacked, hitting him in the head with “an unknown object,” knocking him to the ground.

The victim managed to get up and begin running, but the suspects chased and caught him. They slammed him to the ground and stole his cell phone, but then ran off when witnesses intervened, police said.

The first suspect in this attack was described as about 19 years old and 6 feet tall with short hair. He was wearing all black. The second suspect is described as a black man, 16 to 19 years old, and about 5-feet-8. He weighed about 150 pounds and had lighter-toned skin.

Detectives investigating the incidents have asked that anyone with information on either offense call 214-671-3584.

—  Tammye Nash

Friday night in the gayborhood: The mayor, police make their presence known

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, right, speaks with staff and patrons inside Alexandre’s on Friday night.

After an assault on Thursday night, Nov. 19, made Geoffrey Hubbard the 12th person attacked in Oak Lawn since Sept. 1, Dallas police announced a plan for increasing police presence in the gayborhood to try to stem the rash of violence.

As these photos from Dallas Voice Associate Advertising Manager Chad Mantooth show, Dallas police were a very visible presence in the area on Friday night, Nov. 20, one night after the attack on Hubbard. And Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings joined the effort, walking the Cedar Springs Strip and visiting with patrons in various nightclubs.

“Anytime, any one neighborhood has an intensity of crimes like this, you’ve got to take it very seriously,” Rawlings said.

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—  Tammye Nash

Rally planned Sunday outside DPD headquarters to protest lack of response to Oak Lawn attacks

Light UpDaniel Scott Cates, one of the main organizers for the Nov. 1 Light Up Oak Lawn march down Cedar Springs, announced today (Friday, Nov. 20), that activists are planning another rally to call for an increased police presence in Oak Lawn following a wave of robberies and assaults over the last three months.

The rally will be held at the DPD headquarters, 1400 S. Lamar St., at 7 p.m. Cates said those attending should bring “signs, flags, drums, people, voices.”

“Since Sept. 20, there have now been 15 reported violent assaults on gay men in Oak Lawn,” Cates said in a Facebook post announcing the rally. “Survivors have been beaten with bats, stabbed with box cutters, pistol whipped and pummeled with fists. In several of these attacks, homophobic language has been used by the assailants.”

Despite Dallas Police promises to increase patrols and visibility in the gayborhood, Cates said “such an increase has been spotty and largely invisible.” He also noted that no arrests have been made in connection with the assaults.

In contrast, Cates noted that within two weeks of a weekend-long spate of armed robberies on the Katy Trail, there were “cruisers driving the path, mounted patrols, bicycle units and arrests. Uptown gets visible, swift action for a handful of crimes while the LGBTQIA community lives for months in terror behind 15 violent attacks!?”

Dallas Police released a statement earlier today detailing the department’s plan to increase patrols and police presence, including the formation of a task force. Read about it here.

—  Tammye Nash

DPD details stepped-up efforts in Oak Lawn

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DPD’s LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin

Dallas Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin has just provided Dallas Voice with a statement detailing the department’s plan for increasing patrols to improve safety in Oak Lawn, following a rash of violent robberies in the gayborhood over the last three months. The most recent attack, which happened shortly before midnight last night (Thursday, Nov.19), sent Geoffrey Hubbard to the hospital with head injuries.

The attack on Hubbard came just hours after the most recent meeting between DPD officials and area residents and business owners, and the community reacted this morning (Friday, Nov. 20), with anger and frustration. Some people even announced their intentions to arm themselves with guns and patrol the area themselves this weekend — an idea Martin warned against.

The statement from Dallas Police reads:

“With a series of violent crimes occurring in the Oak Lawn area, the Dallas Police Department has stepped up its efforts to prevent any more individuals from being victimized. In addition to increased community collaboration with citizens, crime watch groups and businesses, the department has increased police presence in the area. The department is utilizing the intelligence unit and increased staffing in the area, which includes four bicycle officers, 15 police officers (some working in an undercover capacity) and two sergeants who report to the major at the Northwest Division.

“While working to prevent any further violent offenses in the Oak Lawn area, the officers have made seven arrests, but none are related to the violent offenses that have occurred. The department has put together a task force that includes investigators from assault and robbery units along with detectives from intelligence, patrol officers and undercover officers that will be assigned to the Oak Lawn area.”

—  Tammye Nash

Police: Help us find this suspect

Dallas police today (Monday, Nov. 9), posted the above video of a man using a stolen debit card at a West End DART station ATM, asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating the suspect.

The debit card was stolen during the first of five armed robberies that occurred between Thursday, Oct. 29 and Sunday night, Nov. 1, on the Katy Trail. A man told police he was jogging on the Katy Trail about 9:40 p.m. on Oct. 29 when he was robbed at gunpoint by two men. Two suspects fitting the same descriptions were involved in the other four robberies.

Anyone with information is asked to call Dallas police at 214-671-3584 or Crimestoppers at 214-373-TIPS (8477).

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas police ask for info on assaults, robberies

Screen shot 2015-10-26 at 3.38.26 PMWith less than a week to go in October, Dallas police today (Monday, Oct. 26) posted a blog on their website asking for the public’s help in solving a number of robberies and assaults that occurred  in Oak Lawn over the past two months.

During the last two months, police said there have been nine robbery and aggravated assaulted offenses “in or near the Oak Lawn Community … . In every case, the victim was alone in a public place during the hours of darkness when he was attacked.”

Police say five of the offenses reportedly were committed by a group of two to four Hispanic men “who knocked their victims to the ground and punched and kicked them while stealing their property.”

The attackers in one of these five used a baseball bat on their victim “causing serious bodily injury,” police said. That attack happened on Sunday, Sept. 20, after the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade when a young man named Blake (he has asked that his last name not be used while his assailants remain at large) was attacked on a Cedar Springs side street. The men who attacked him dragged him into a vehicle and continued to beat him before dumping him several blocks away near the intersection of Wycliff Avenue and Sylvester Street.

Police are investigating the attack on Blake as a hate crime because of the anti-gay language his assailants used during the incident.

This group of five attacks also includes one on Oct. 1 when Jaime Dominguez was jumped and stabbed in the chest, neck, ribs and on the side of his head while walking along Cedar Springs Road about 1 a.m.

Police said a white Ford van was used in at least one of these attacks.

Two of the nine offenses were reportedly committed by a black male who robbed his victims at gunpoint, according to the DPD blog. The suspect is described as being between 28 to 30 years old, 5-feet, 10-inches in height, and about 150 pounds. In one offense he was wearing a yellow shirt and blue jeans and in the second he was wearing a gray shirt and black pants.

There is no suspect vehicle information for this individual.

The other two attacks were reportedly committed by one to three black men who “knocked their victims to the ground and punched and kicked them while stealing their property,” police said. One suspect is described as being between 18 to 20 years old, 5-feet, 8inches tall and about 150 pounds. The other two suspects are both described as 6 feet tall and about 185 pounds.

There is no suspect vehicle information.

Police ask that anyone with any information on these offenses or these suspects call the Dallas Police Department Robbery Unit at 214-671-3584.

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas police increase patrols along Katy Trail after 3 weekend robberies

UPDATE: Dallas police believe the robberies are related to 11 similar robberies committed by the same people in the past. Four of them occurred near Katy Trail based on crime analysis. Below is the description of the two men:

  • The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 20 to 30 years old.  He is 5’8 – 6’2 tall and weighs 150-160 pounds.  He has been armed with a blue steel semi-automatic handgun.
  • The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 20 to 22 years old.  His is 5’8 -5’10 tall and weighs approximately 160 pounds.  He may have a gold tooth and moles near his eyes.  He has been armed with a silver colored semi-automatic handgun.
  • The suspect vehicle is gray/silver 4-door sedan.  The vehicle may be a Chrysler or Chevy Impala.

A man walking along Katy Trail near Fitzhugh Avenue. (Michael Stephens/Dallas Voice)

Dallas police are increasing patrols along the Katy Trail after three people were robbed at gunpoint in the area over the weekend.

Lt. Scott Walton sent out a statement Monday morning saying added patrols including more bicycle officers have been assigned to surrounding locations, and members of the Violent Crime Task Force will be in the area.

The first incident was reported on Saturday, when a 25-year-old man said he was approached by two males in a silver sedan around 11:30 p.m. in the 3700 block of Travis Street. The man was punched and threatened with a gun that was reportedly in one of the suspect’s jacket, according to the police report.

The victim was placed in a chokehold until he handed over his iPhone, credit cards and a small amount of cash in his possession before the suspects entered the backseat of the sedan and left.

A 28-year-old woman was held up at gunpoint in the early morning hours Sunday. She was robbed around 1:40 a.m. while leaving the Katy Trail Ice House in the 3100 block of Routh Street. The suspects escaped with her purse, iPhone and wallet.

Around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, a 34-year-old man was running on the trial when two black men described as approximately 25 years old approached him after entering through the gate at Blackburn Street, according to the report.

The suspects “sprinted” to catch up to the victim and pointed a pistol at his head until he handed over his iPhone. They left after making him lay down in the gravel.

In the police report, the man described his attackers as wearing all black. One had short hair, a gold tooth and possible moles near his eyes. The other was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with black shorts and had a his hair styled in an “afro.”

Lin Wang, president of LGBT running club Front Runners Dallas, said the about 10 to15 people meet at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays for a group run. He sent out an email Sunday warning the group that if they run outside of the group run, they should run with someone else for safety.

The robberies on and near the trial will not affect the Saturday morning run, he said.

“The good thing is we always do a group run so we seldom run alone,” he said. “Besides that, what can we do? This is the trail we use because of the location and available parking.”

Wang, who lives near the trail, said he runs six days a week and fears he could be a target, especially for possible violence because he does not bring anything of value with him. He runs around 6:30 a.m. but got a late start Sunday, he said.

He cautioned runners to not bring any money or phones in addition to running in groups and watching for suspicious people on the trail. He said many runners use their iPhones because of a popular speed-tracking app, but said for serious runners to instead use a running watch.

—  Dallasvoice

Police seek suspects who robbed Bio Scrip on Cedar Springs, 7 other businesses

DPD is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying two suspects who are now believed to be responsible for up to eight recent aggravated robberies. Among the stores hit were Bio Scrip Pharmacy at 3826 Cedar Springs Road on Dec. 23 and Skylight Wireless at 3218 Oak Lawn Ave. on Dec. 26.

The first suspect is described as a black male in his early 20s, standing 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, red T-shirt and black or blue cap with a red bill. The second suspect is described as a black male in his early 20s, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 220 pounds, wearing dark jeans and a dark hooded sweatshirt.

The two suspects are also believed to be responsible for recent offenses at the following locations:

• T-Mobile 3003 Knox
• Metro PCS 3610 Inwood
• Baja Auto Insurance 2542 Gus Thomasson
• Raven Pharmacy 500 W. Jefferson
• EZ Money Loan 5365 Spring Valley Rd
• Metro PCS 4825 Ross Ave

If you have information about these suspects or any of these crimes call the Dallas Police Department Crimes Against Persons Unit at 214-671-3584, or if you wish to remain anonymous, contact CrimeStoppers at 214-373-TIPS (8477).

—  David Taffet

Dallas police issue statement on safety, alleged increase in gang activity at NorthPark Center

The Dallas Police Department issued the following statement today in response to an unsubstantiated, viral e-mail claiming a huge increase in gang activity at NorthPark Center:

Safety at North Park Mall

There have been multiple inquiries in the last twenty-four hours from the media regarding safety at North Park Mall. These inquiries were apparently spurred by an e-mail from a mall patron who noted an increase in young people at the mall and increased police presence as well as from an informal conversation about the situation with off-duty officers there. Please know the following:

North Park officials report an increase in the number of young people at the mall, particularly around the movie theaters. The report we have from patrol and gang unit officers is that there is no discernable organized gang presence there. The Dallas Police Department’s gang unit did go to the mall during the week of the Super Bowl as a routine measure. They made one arrest. They then did a follow-up but found no compelling reason to continue monitoring the mall on a regular basis.

Reported crime at the mall is actually down since the first of the year as compared to the same time last year. There have been 14 reported Part 1 crimes (not counting shoplift cases) compared to 21 last year. And the overwhelming majority of the offenses both years involve thefts of or from vehicles in the parking lot. There have been two robberies and one aggravated assault reported in the mall so far this year. While those certainly are a concern, they closely parallel the number and kinds of crime seen in previous years and by no means suggest an up-tick in offenses at the mall.

In late January additional off-duty Dallas officers were hired by the mall in anticipation of an influx of visitors coming to Dallas for the Super Bowl. The mall decided to keep hiring additional officers, particularly on weekend evenings, as a precautionary measure.

It is always a best practice to be vigilant of your surroundings whether it is walking in your neighborhood or shopping at your favorite locations. North Park security and the Dallas Police Department will continue to work to keep the mall a secure and vibrant shopping area where the public can go with confidence of being safe.

—  John Wright

Police identify suspect who’s now charged in 3 recent ATM kidnappings in Oak Lawn, Uptown

Anthony Glenn Davis

Last Friday we told you police had made an arrest in the case of a woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint Sept. 27 on McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas and forced to drive to an ATM to withdraw cash.

We’ve also told you about another, similar robbery that occurred the day before in the parking lot of Office Depot on Oak Lawn Avenue.

Today, after completing lineups with other victims, police released the suspect’s name, and he is 40-year-old Anthony Glenn Davis.

In addition to the robberies on McKinney and Oak Lawn, Davis is charged with a third one Sept. 25 at 4026 Cedar Springs. And as you can see, he looks a little like “Deebo” from Friday.


—  John Wright