Birmingham Police increasing patrols as group of armed robbers target local Hispanic community
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham police are working to increase security for the Hispanic community, because they say a group of armed robbers is targeting and stealing from dozens of Hispanic victims.
A construction worker was shot to death on January 25th during a robbery while working on a house renovation in Ensley. BPD is now investigating to see if his case is linked to the group of armed robbers. Investigators tell WBRC that they’ve seen more than fifty cases of robberies against the Hispanic community since October.
“From an officers perspective, you cant help but think that [January 25th’s] incident could be connected, so we aren’t ruling it out,” Officer Truman Fitzgerald with BPD said. “These are actual crews that are hard at work and people came and robbed them. Based upon just the massive amount of numbers, in such a quick amount of time, we would say that our Hispanic brothers and sisters are being preyed upon.”
BPD believe it’s an organized armed robbery ring, likely targeting the Hispanic community because of potential language barriers or fear of police.
“Our Hispanic population carries cash on them and we definitely think these suspects were going for cash.”
The attacks are happening everywhere. Fitzgerald said many of the cases have been against construction or renovation crews.
“It’s happening everywhere,” he said. “We are talking any area where work crew could be or at their home, they were robbed as well.”
BPD is now spreading the warning through Spanish speaking media and increasing patrols.
“Let the precincts know if a crew is going to be out or working late,” he said. “Especially, in a residential area, we would love to drive by and patrol those areas. Just having that knowledge that we do have a crew out in the area would help our officers know where to patrol and when to patrol.”
“The saddest thing about it is these men are working at about seven o’clock, working hard and trying to earn a living and somebody lost their life.”
BPD said the safest thing to do if you are approached by one of these robbers is to just give them what they are asking for.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Birmingham Police Department or CrimeStoppers at (205) 254-7777.
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