- Lauren Foreman The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Calling a rash of armed robberies involving Georgia Tech students “appalling,” Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields pledged to find the culprits behind the crimes.
“I commit to you that we will reign this in,” she said during a press conference Thursday afternoon. “We are going to make arrests.”
Since Jan. 24, a total of nine Tech students have been robbed at gunpoint in four separate incidents.
The latest came just hours before Shields’ remarks.
According to Atlanta police, officers responded to the 1200 block of State Street jsut after 2:30 a.m.
The student said a man in his early 20s jumped from bushes on 15th Street, Officer Lisa Bender told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Don’t move,” the student said the robber told him. “Put your hands in the air.”
The man was pointing a silver handgun and wearing a tan parka, police said.
The victim complied, and handed over money and a backpack with laptop inside. The robber took off toward State Street in a tan sedan, Bender said.
No one was injured, but the incident prompted Shields to address growing safety concerns.
“It is appalling, quite frankly, that this is occurring in the downtown space,” she said.
In the first incident, two students were forced to hand over their car, apartment keys and other personal items to two armed robbers as they walked along the 400 block of 16th Street on Jan. 24, police said.
Days later, five Tech students, all in their 20s, were walking on 11th Street and Atlantic Drive when two men came behind them with handguns and told them to give up their stuff, police said.
The incident happened just before 8:45 p.m. Jan. 28 in the 1000 block of Atlantic Drive, Atlanta police Officer Donald Hannah said.
And about 11:50 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to the 1100 block of Snyder Street after getting a call about a robbery in the area, Atlanta police Officer Donald Hannah said.
When they arrived, the victim told police two men in black hoodies got out of a gray sedan and robbed him as he visited friends.
During the news conference, Shields said the robbers don’t appear to be part of an organized crime effort, but may have gang ties.
She called for better lighting in the area and said the department plans to arrest people who have “skated through” the criminal justice system.
Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.
In other news: