Rise in Downtown Robberies
Eight robberies in Downtown Gainesville during the month of May has the police station and the public on edge. The attacks are happening to the most vulnerable as Gainesville Police Spokesperson Keith Kameg calls them "beatdown robberies" because the victims are attacked from behind and beaten up so severely it takes hours for them to report it.
The police department's tactical impact unit will be monitoring area hot spots after 8 robberies were reported during 3 weekends - 5 in two days.
"In most of these cases, our victims are being beaten so badly that they pass out for three or four hours then wake up, call us or they're at the hospital and the hospital calls us, " says Kameg.
The attacks happen after bars close, mainly between 1:30 and 4am. The suspects target drunks and beat and rob them. A list provided to TV20 reveals one beat down happened at the Sun Bay apartments on Southwest 16th Avenue at 3:55am. One attack was so brazen it happened at a gas station on Northwest 8th Avenue, directly across the police station.
Kameg says the community is luck no one has been killed. "No one has died yet, but you know we're seeing a lot of our victims ending up in the hospital with severe injuries to their face, upper torso and with no info to law enforcement, these are cases that we have to go out to the community and let the community know because the community has to help protect themselves."
Kameg says the suspects may not be looking for money, instead targeting their victims just for the thrill of beating them up. "Most of these cases, all of the losses have been under 25 dollars with the exception of one case. So you're beating someone unmercifully for in essence change."
Kameg says of the 8 cases, 7 of the victims were alone. He stresses it's important to stay together with friends after you leave the bars and clubs. He also believes the attacks are not related.
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