Robbery attempt Friday similar to recent North Raleigh crimes

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comSeptember 26, 2013 

— In the fifth such incident in North Raleigh within a week, an armed man attempted to rob a woman Friday evening as she arrived at a house in the 4900 block of Wynneford Way to dog sit for friends, according to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman was retrieving an overnight bag from her car at about 9 p.m. when the armed man approached her. He wore a 3-D mask and Halloween-type cape, according to Capt. Jimmy Stevens.

The man forced the woman into the house where he demanded money and jewelry, but she told him she didn't know where those things were kept. The man insisted they drive to an ATM where she could withdraw money, according to Stevens' report.

Once outside, she couldn't find her car keys. The man pushed her to the ground and kicked her. As he was leaving, he removed the mask. The victim identified the man as a black male with light colored or brown skin and very closely cut hair, the report said.

After the man left, the woman found her keys and drove to a convenience store for help, the report said.

On Thursday night, an armed man kidnapped a woman in a neighborhood near Umstead Park and made her drive to a nearby ATM, according to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s investigators were called to the 5000 block of Stoneridge Drive about 8:45 p.m. They said an armed man had forced the woman into her car and made her drive to a Wells Fargo ATM at 3301 Edwards Mill Road.

The woman then escaped, investigators say, and the gunman drove off in her car.

Three other similar armed robberies have taken place in North Raleigh during the past week. Details of those cases, according to the Raleigh police:

• The first robbery occurred about 2 a.m. Sunday in the 4800 block of Pleasant Valley Drive. A woman told police that she and a male friend were walking home from a wedding near the Crabtree Apartments when they were approached by a man who put a gun to her face. The bandit assaulted the male victim and then took the woman’s purse, which contained credit cards and a mobile phone, before fleeing on foot.

The woman told the 911 dispatcher that the man was tall and wore a motorcycle helmet.

• Later Sunday, just before midnight, a man with the same description approached a woman as she got out of her Jeep Cherokee in front of her apartment in the 4300 block of Furman Hall in West Raleigh.

The woman told the 911 dispatcher that she had just arrived home from Asheville and the robber walked up to her after a friend who was with her left.

‘He wanted $400’

The woman told the dispatcher that the man made her drive him in her Jeep Cherokee to a First Citizens Bank near the Harris Teeter grocery on Edwards Mill Road.

“He wanted $400,” the woman said. “I took out everything I had in my savings, $40.”

The man hid in the backseat of the Cherokee as he ordered her to drive near the Wade Avenue-Interstate 40 interchange. The man then made her get out of the SUV, got behind the wheel and sped off.

The woman was still on the highway, hiding behind a pylon, when she dialed 911.

“I’m on the side of the street, and he’s going to come back for me,” she told the dispatcher. “Please, please hurry. I’m hiding.”

The woman told the dispatcher that the man asked her whether she lived alone and her age. He told her he didn’t trust her and considered making her strip before taking more items from her.

The woman described the man as tall and wearing a motorcycle helmet and all black clothing.

“He has definitely done this before,” the woman told the dispatcher. “Because he knew what he was doing. He made me turn the rearview mirror away from him. He ducked down in the back seat.”

The police found the woman’s Cherokee a short distance from her home.

• Investigators think the same man was responsible for robbing a couple late the next night at their home in the 1000 block of Collins Drive in North Raleigh. A woman told police that the man approached her as she returned home. She screamed, and when her husband opened the door, the man forced them both inside, where he stole cash and jewelry.

In the 911 call, the husband told the dispatcher that the man was armed with a black handgun and had shrouded his face with an orange and yellow zip-up jacket with a turtle neck that allowed them to see only his eyes. He said the man made them drive him to a Wells Fargo ATM, where they withdrew about $580.

‘He’s been watching’

The thief then made the couple drive to Apex in their Chevrolet Tahoe and then back to their home on Collins Drive, where he robbed them of more items, including a laptop computer.

“He was in the backseat the whole time,” the husband told the dispatcher.

The man made the couple drive to one end of Collins Drive before he made them get out. The man later abandoned the couple’s Tahoe at the bottom of Collins Drive.

“He said he has been watching us, he’s been watching the neighbors,” the man told the dispatcher. “He said he came here tonight, and we were just the first ones that presented ourselves.”

Police say they are looking for a black man who stands about 6 feet tall with a medium build. During the first two robberies, investigators say, he wore a black motorcycle helmet with a full-face shield, black motorcycle style jacket, black pants, black shoes, and black gloves. While committing the third crime, the gunman wore all black except for the orange and yellow zip-up jacket.

Police ask anyone with information about the robberies to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357 or visit www.raleighcrimestoppers.org for text and email reporting options.

 

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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