A rash of robberies in the capital city may be solved with an arrest today. Des Moines Police Sergeant Todd Dykstra says their targets have been bakeries, gas stations, fast-food restaurants and delivery drivers. Des Moines’ had 67 robberies since the first of the year, in a time when there were 33 similar crimes a year ago.
He says two groups are blamed for around half of the crimes. Two groups of black males have a similar approach — 2 or three of the young men will go into a store with black sweatshirts with the hoods pulled over their heads, and black bandannas tied around their faces. That defeats much of the help police normally get from video cameras and surveillance systems, he says.
Police released a rap sheet of the crimes since January first in the capital city, and there were 28 robberies of individuals, 26 holdups at businesses, 7 robberies of delivery drivers, and half a dozen cases of shoplifting that also involved assault.
Thirteen of the robberies blamed on those groups involved a weapon — and another 13 did not.
The sergeant says they got a break in the case and arrested a 15-year-old in a Saturday-night holdup at a convenience store. He’s a suspect in four robberies in all. Dykstra says they’re not advising the store clerks to arm themselves, because giving up money will likely ensure nobody’s hurt.