Cops Looking For Ways To Stop Tulsa Robbers

Thursday, January 8th 2009, 9:47 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- If it seems like robberies are happening a lot lately in Tulsa, you're right.  The city usually averages around 80 a month, but since October, the city has recorded around 120 robberies a month and it's not slowing down.  Police are frustrated that no matter how many robbers they arrest, new ones pick up where the others left off.

Tulsa police recently arrested 11 armed robbers, a huge number.  Aaron Livingston, Maurice Wilson, Clayton Lambert and Scott Youngblood are four of them.  Pictures of the others are not available because they're being held for immigration.

In the past, cleaning house like that would've meant a drop in crime.

"It is frustrating. Used to be, you'd take one group of people off the street, everything would cool down for quite a while. Now, another group just steps right in," said Tulsa Police Captain Karen Ford.

Captain Ford oversees an East Tulsa Armed Robbery Task Force that began December 9th.  Since then, robberies on the city's east side dropped 40%, so, they plan to keep the task force in operation one more month.

The problem is robberies across the city are up.

Robbery Sergeant Dave Walker says that's because of so many rookie robbers.  People trying it for the very first time and they are 15, 16, 17 years old.

"Narcotics are pulling a big part of that, as well as peer pressure," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker.

It's such a waste because in most cases, all they get when they rob someone at gunpoint is a few bucks or maybe a credit card, but yet, it could cost them 15 or 20 years in prison.

One 15 year old, Cody Payne, was recently killed during a home invasion, shot by the homeowner.  Tulsa Police first arrested him for robbery at age 13 and again at 14.

"Obviously, these robbers aren't going to stop, so the only way I know to stop them is put hands on them and put them away where they can't rob innocent folks," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker.

Police say they must do something different in the New Year to put a stop to the madness.