Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police warn Hispanic men to be wary in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A rash of armed robberies has police in Clearwater warning Hispanic men to be careful when they are out at night.

The Clearwater police held a news conference Friday to discuss a disturbing trend of black-on-Hispanic violence.

The crime analysis section of the department noticed 45 cases this year with a similar modus operandi: Hispanic men, walking alone or riding their bikes, often at night, have been stopped by two or more black men, ages 17 to 25, and robbed at gunpoint.

A quarter of the cases involved masked men. Three quarters took place between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. In most of the cases, the victim was knocked to the ground, kicked and punched or had a gun held to his head. The robbers took wallets, bikes and cell phones.

Police Officer Brian Munoz, the Hispanic outreach liaison officer for the Police Department, said these appeared to be "crimes of opportunity" and not racially motivated.

Five of the robberies in the last four months took place in a small rectangle, bounded by Drew Street, Highland Avenue, Woodlawn Street and Myrtle Avenue. In the last six months of 2007, there was just one similar robbery in that area.

Police said there was a significant increase in this type of crime over last year. Citywide statistics, however, were not available.

Clearwater has a large and growing Hispanic population. Hispanics make up 17 or 18 percent of the city's population, according to Robin Gomez, the city's auditor and its Hispanic-Latino liaison. Roughly 75 percent of the Hispanic population comes from the Mexican state of Hidalgo, he said.

Hispanic immigrants have historically been reluctant to put their money in banks, Gomez said, and they are used to dealing in cash.

To date, two victims have been shot. Three arrests have been made.

Anyone with information can call the Clearwater Police Department at (727) 562-4422.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

>>Fast facts

Tips for safety

Police recommend a few common-sense steps to avoid being victims. People should walk with others, be aware of their surroundings, avoid carrying large amounts of money and pick a safe route that stays away from dark areas.

Police warn Hispanic men to be wary in Clearwater 10/10/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After hard charging on health care in 2016, Marco Rubio is slow, careful

    Blogs

    As a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio pitched an Obamacare replacement and tore into Donald Trump for not having one. "What is your plan? What is your plan on health care? You don't have a plan," the Florida senator aggressively challenged in a February 2016 debate.

  2. Report: Florida counties part of liver disease cluster

    Research

    STUART — Four counties along Florida's Treasure Coast make up a cluster with high rates of both deaths from liver disease and algae blooms.

  3. Authorities say cocaine is making comeback in Florida

    Crime

    FORT LAUDERDALE — Drug enforcement officials say traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade.

    Traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade, officials say.  [Times files]
  4. Amid escalating Russia crisis, Trump considers major staff changes

    National

    President Donald Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a "war room" within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

    President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a retooling of his senior staff. [Doug Mills/The New York Times]
  5. Karen Lugo, 13, from Tampa, holds up her IPad Mini to take a picture of herself while relaxing in the sand alongside her mother, Karen Castro (on left), at the North Beach area of Fort DeSoto on Memorial Day (05/27/13). Karen comes to the beach with her family for holidays, she said. Also present was her older brother and three cousins.