Police Investigate Robbery Spree

Friday, April 4th 2008, 7:04 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa police are investigating a string of armed robberies.  The News On 6's Chris Wright reports, in each case, police say the victims were Hispanic men.

In a span of about an hour and a half, four Hispanic men were robbed at four different apartment complexes.  Hispanic leaders now worry that members of their community have become easy targets.

The calls came in from east Tulsa one after another Thursday night.  Between 10:30 p.m. and midnight, armed robberies were reported at Cimarron Apartments, Columbia Condos, Lakeside Place, and the Silver Creek Apartments.  The MO was the same each time.

Each victim was alone, and robbed at gunpoint outside his apartment. Two were pistol-whipped.  Some waited before calling police.

"Mine was a 30 minute time lapse.  He had called some family members, he had called security out there before he even decided to call us," said Tulsa Police Officer Matt Rose.

Sergeant Dave Walker believes the robbers deliberately targeted Hispanics, but not because some may be hesitant to get the authorities involved.

"I don't think they think the Hispanic community won't call the police.  They're targeting them just for the cash," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker.

Some Hispanic leaders in Tulsa say that members of their community started carrying more cash after House Bill 1804 went into effect last November.  Sebastian Lantos tells us having more cash in hand, and not calling the cops, all stem from fear of the authorities.

"It's a consequence of not integrating these hard workers.  They're getting paid, and they can't open a bank account, and they have to carry that money," said Sebastian Lantos with the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations.

But, in cases like these, Sebastian says victims need to put their fears aside and contact the police.

"We need to make people comfortable with going to the police officers or the district attorney, and if there's a crime, we have to report it," said Sebastian Lantos with the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations.

Anyone with information about the robberies is urged to call Crimestoppers at 596-COPS.

Police say some of the robberies did not even net the suspects any money.  But, they did steal more than $1,000 from one victim.

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