Community takes action after violent robbery - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Community takes action after violent robbery

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A Richmond neighborhood and police are banding together after a couple was robbed and assaulted near their own home. The community is fighting back, hoping their actions will get the suspects off the streets.

The Church Hill Community Crime Watch has not only organized a meeting with police for Wednesday, but it has also raised $1000 as an additional reward.

Even two weeks later, Church Hill residents are still shaken up.

"It's incredibly shocking," Jon Ondrak said.

His two friends, the victims in this case, are too concerned for their safety to speak on camera. On June 11th, they were walking from a local restaurant in Shockoe Bottom to their home in Church Hill.

The couple had made it to the sidewalk in front of one of their friend's homes, which is also just about a block from their own home, when they noticed something suspicious.

"The wife actually said to the husband ‘hey there are four guys over there. Just be aware,'" Ondrak relayed. "But as soon as she got the words out of her mouth the perpetrators were on top of them almost and held them at gunpoint."

They told him four men robbed them. The man was pistol whipped. People who live in the area say this has changed their way of life and shattered a sense of safety that had been gained as crime decreased over the past 20 or 30 years.

"It was an extreme shock to see that once again our neighborhood is becoming unsafe," Ondrak added.

Now, those neighbors are using the incident as motivation to step up safety efforts. They have citizen patrols and a buddy system to walk their dogs. The neighborhood crime watch has organized a meeting Wednesday and is offering $1000 more for a reward to get the suspects off the streets.

Lt. Dan Minton, who will run the meeting, says police have some good leads, but still need more help to make the arrests.

"What happens a lot of times is that people see something and they don't realize it had any connection to what happened that night," Lt. Minton explained. "So we're just asking to call in their tips regardless of how small they think it is."

The meeting to get more information is Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Libby Hill Park House, at the intersection of North 27th and East Franklin Streets.

Lt. Minton says he believes this was a crime of opportunity and police are looking at possible connections to other crimes in the area. If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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