I mentioned Sunday the robbery of six people by the same gunman near 13th and Main, some of the victims going to an after-party at South on Main following the Arkansas Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner.
The robberies didn’t turn up in the daily summaries of crimes distributed by the Little Rock police Monday. Since police radio traffic is no longer available to the general public, media coverage of the robberies was almost non-existent.
This morning, the police located the reports on the robberies. I asked if the robberies made it to the department’s statistical summary. We’ve been repeatedly assured the Little Rock crime rate is dropping, but when the public can’t hear crime as it happens and when multiple robberies don’t make it onto daily summaries, it seemed a fair question. Officer Steve McClanahan told me the incident was reported as a single robbery of multiple people.
It all happend about 10 p.m. Saturday
Two people walking in the parking lot at 13th and Main said they were robbed by a man in a red Dodge pickup who pointed a gun at them. The man then robbed three people sitting in a car nearby. Another man, walking separately, said he was robbed of a bag containing an iPad. Wallets, credit cars and some $2,000 in cash was reported stolen from the victims. The final victim chased the robber as far as I-30 and Roosevelt Road, where he notified police.
UPDATE: On a positive note, police HAVE arrested a suspect in the abduction of a man near Markham and University last Friday morning. The man was forced to make withdrawals with a bank ATM card before being released. Police are crediting tips from people who saw the suspect’s photo on Twitter with helping to solve the case.
UPDATE II: A list of the 13 robberies for which the suspect is accused has not been released, but police cinfirm they include the Main Street robberies Saturday night.
The suspect, Steven O’Neal Turner, 33, of England, is listed on the jail intake records as being a parolee with a hold by the England Police Department.
UPDATE III: State Rep. Charles Blake, in a note to a neighborhood group, said EIGHT robberies took place within 30 minutes Saturday within a few blocks. He wrote:
As the President of the SOMA board of directors and State Representative of District 36, it is my job and responsibility to address the safety of our community. Eight armed robberies took place Saturday night, July 18, 2015, only a few blocks from each other in a span of 30 minutes. These acts of violence are fully unacceptable, and I am addressing them with urgency. I have pulled the police reports of all the incidents and am reaching out to the victims as well as the businesses owners who have been affected. I am also in the process of meeting with the Argenta and River Market districts where they patrol businesses until closing hours, for advice and best practices concerning saftey. I will meet with Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner to decide how we might—together—continue to prevent, prepare and respond to violence in this area and across our district. You will be updated as my efforts progress.
The actions of the criminal who perpetrated these crimes are isolated, and not indicative of the SOMA district or its community members, but are not uncommon in other areas ,specifically within District 36 and generally across the City of Little Rock. We will all need to play a part, not only for our friends and neighbors, but also for our city at large and ultimately the reputation of the State. Neighborhood organizations have methods of reporting and preventing crime, and I will work with those associations to support and grow these efforts.