DALLAS ––As investigators work to determine whether a series of robberies in East Dallas are connected, police are urging residents to be alert when pulling into their homes.
On Tuesday, our Rebecca Lopez reported on five similar robberies since August 2013 in the police department’s Northeast Patrol Division. Police confirmed Wednesday that they suspect at least three of those are connected –– each of them occurred in an area defined by Gaston Avenue, Abrams Road, Northwest Highway and Easton Road.
According to Wednesday's alert, the suspect in those three is a white man between 5’9’’ and six feet tall who weighs about 200 pounds and wears a ski mask. He approaches the homeowner in their driveway clutching a knife or gun and demands property. He then flees. Nobody has been injured.
Police say witnesses have seen a dark sedan driving away from the neighborhoods shortly after the crime occurs.
But whether those are the work of one suspect or not, Maj. Jeff Cotner, head of the department’s Crimes Against Persons Division, says the incidences only stress the importance for residents not to become complacent in places where they may typically feel safe.
“It’s really about the nature of this type of offense,” he said. “It’s more about individuals being vulnerable when they pull into their driveway. It’s the same thing you’d hear during the holiday season when you’re walking to your car from the store.”
The alert says police have arrested a person for a “similar offense” and are looking into whether he is responsible for any other crimes. Cotner said that doesn't mean these suspects are the only ones using this sort of criminal method.
“We do believe that there are multiple individuals using a very similar strategy or MO, but it’s not some sort of coordinated attack,” he said. “We want everybody to take steps to reduce their vulnerability, instill some vigilance and awareness.”
Lopez spoke to a few victims for her story yesterday. The most recent robbery occurred Monday night at a home near Garland Road and Buckner Boulevard. The woman, who asked to be anonymous, said the man was “completely silent.”
“I felt he wanted my bag and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible,” she said. “It was scary. He was right there, right at my back door, right on my porch.”
He got away with the woman’s briefcase and soon used her credit card for gas at a 7-Eleven and a RaceTrac on nearby Buckner. The other victims, who were each women, also reported the suspect being quiet and urging them not to speak.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t let your smartphone or something else distract you.
- Avoid isolated or dark areas when alone.
- If you feel you are being followed, drive to a safe public location and call 911
- If you arrive home and see any suspicious people or activities call 911 immediately.
- In the unfortunate circumstance you are robbed, comply with the suspect’s directions, but don’t volunteer any more than what is asked for.
- If you must reach inside your bag or purse, tell the suspect what you are doing before you do it.