April 16, 2002 – Police are urging residents to travel in groups and leave their cash at home in an effort to curb a recent rise in armed robberies throughout the territory.
Deputy Police Chief Theodore Carty issued a statement Tuesday warning residents to "travel in pairs or in a group," and to refrain from carrying large amounts of money.
The warning, Carty said, comes on the heels of a rash of robberies involving groups of armed robbers approaching people in the downtown Charlotte Amalie area.
According to Carty, victims have been relieved of cash, jewelry and cellular phones in a string of recent holdups. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Annette Raimer said there have been more than 10 armed robberies in the downtown area since the beginning of April.
"The town area seems to be where most of them are occurring," Raimer said, adding, though, that other parts of St. Thomas had seen armed robberies in April as well. She said the incidents tend to occur between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Raimer said the robberies are similar in that the thieves travel in groups of three or four and are easily sparked toward violence. "If [the victims] give any problems," she said, "there's a physical altercation."
Raimer said one recent victim, a woman in her 60s, was beaten with a gun butt when she resisted. Another victim, a man, was kicked several times by several robbers, and suffered a hernia.
The robbers appear to be targeting only single individuals.
Carty said residents should be cautious and, if approached by a suspicious-looking person, remain calm.
"Your personal safety should come first to mind," Carty said. He urged residents to "try to recognize something about the suspect" that can be easily remembered and might aid police in their investigation.
It is not unusual to see a rise in crime around Carnival time. Anyone with any information on recent robberies in the downtown area should contact 911 or the Investigations Bureau at 715-5522.

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