Katy Trail robbery victims describe similar assaults

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on May 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 8:34 AM

DALLAS — Criminals seem to be targeting unsuspecting bar patrons and joggers along the popular Katy Trail in Dallas.

Over a seven-hour stretch late Saturday night and into early Sunday, three people were attacked and robbed at gunpoint by two men.

Dallas police refuse to comment on or connect the cases. However, News 8 spoke with all three victims who shared similar stories and described nearly identical suspects.

Charles — who asked that his real name not be used — was jogging the Katy Trail around 6:30 Sunday morning. The sun was shining. There were other joggers. But his suspicions were aroused when he passed two men standing near the Blackburn Street bridge.

"Nobody smokes cigarettes on the Katy Trail," he said. "I made eye contact at them and smiled at them, but I got no response."

Seconds after jogging past the men, he said one of them turned around, pulled out a gun, and ran beside him with the weapon pointing at Charles' head.

"When you've got two kids under the age of two, you think, 'Just don’t kill me,'" he said.

They ordered the 34-year-old father to the ground and stole his iPhone and $5.

"It never occurred to me something like that could happen," Charles said.

Hours earlier, two men attacked a 28-year-old woman walking home along with the trail with her husband and sister-in-law after spending time at the Katy Trail Ice House. They were walking south on the trail around 1:40 a.m. Sunday. She said the men pushed her to the ground and pointed a gun at her companions.

"Out of nowhere, I was just pushed down," she told News 8, adding the fall slightly bruised her leg. The men stole her cell phone and purse.

Two hours earlier, "Dakota," 25, said two men jumped out of a silver sedan and tackled him while he walked near his apartment in the 3700 block of Travis Street, just a few feet from the Katy Trail.

"Before they even said something, I got knocked down and punched," Dakota said. "One said, 'strangle him until he gives us our money.'"

Dakota said one man wrapped his arm around his neck while the teacher tried to fish money out of his pocket. He, too, only had $5 and a cell phone.

"There's two of them — there’s really nothing I can do in terms of fighting back," he said.

Police will not say if they increased patrols for the Mother's Day crowd along the popular 3.5-mile running and biking path between downtown Dallas and Highland Park.

Joggers were shocked at the news.

"It's extremely shocking... it's extremely shocking," said Eric Bunyan.

The general manger for the Ice House declined to speak on camera, but said he will continue to employ off-duty police officers on weekends, as well as his own security team.

Dallas police didn’t respond to multiple calls for comment. After reviewing online police reports, News 8 found five similar-style armed robberies in the Uptown area so far this month. All the attacks involved two suspects, and many of them were within a few blocks of the Katy Trail.

"That's really scary that they are so aggressive and it could turn bad so quickly,” Dakota said.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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