DURHAM, N.C.— The Durham Police department is investigating a string of related armed robberies and carjackings targeting Hispanic women.
“Essentially [victims] were going to or leaving their vehicles when they were confronted by individuals that were masked, armed with firearms, who robbed them of their possessions and their motor vehicles.” said Durham Police Sgt. Jermain Clark.
According to Durham police, from Sept. 3, 2023 through Sept. 12, 2023, officers responded to four carjackings and one armed robbery where Hispanic women were targeted at different locations across the city. The thefts occurred at a bus stop, an apartment complex, and the parking lots of businesses.
“Often times, most criminals will take the path of least resistance. . . these individuals opportunistically preyed on vulnerable, non-suspecting victims.” said Clark.
Durham Police Officer Rut Avila says it is important to have a culturally diverse department to handle cases like these when victims are too scared to speak up because of certain circumstances.
“It opens up the line of communications between all residents and also makes them feel more comfortable to report these crimes…the more cultures we have in our department the better because we can better serve our community.” said Avila.
The Durham Police Department is asking community members to be aware of their surroundings.
“Always corroborate with the robber. I know it sounds bad, but at the end of the day. your life is more important than any materials. Then, call 911 as soon as possible and give us all the information that you possibly can.” said Durham Police Sgt. Karina Ramos-Disla.
Other tips to keep yourself safe: park in well-lit areas, assess your surroundings for suspicious persons before exiting your vehicle, and don’t leave unattended vehicles running.
The robbery and carjacking investigations are ongoing. The victims have described the suspects as two to three thin frame, shorter African-American juvenile males wearing ski masks.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call Investigator T. Blake at (919) 560-4440 ext. 29282 or Investigator A. Osborne at (919) 560-4440 ext. 29241. You can also call CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200.