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Block watch comes through

Published: Sat, November 27, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.

South Sider thwarts robbery, helps cops

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



A South Side block-watch member who helped police find and arrest several teens after an attempted armed robbery said it was just “the right thing to do” — and that more people should follow his lead.

A member of the block watch along Loveland Avenue on the city’s upper South Side said he was heading home just after 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day when he noticed a group of teen boys surrounding a man, woman and child. The man told the block-watch member the teens had tried to rob him.

The block-watch member, who asked that The Vindicator not publish his name, began chasing the group of teens. Eventually, he tracked the group to a house in the 2300 block of Mount Vernon. Police ultimately arrested three teens — ranging in age from 13 to 15 — and charged the boys with attempted armed robbery and complicity to aggravated armed robbery.

The boys are being held in the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center.

The block-watch member, who lives near Mount Vernon, said he is tired of the illegal activities of a few having an effect on the entire neighborhood.

“This was the right thing to do, flat out the right thing to do. I am tired of my neighborhood being victimized by a minority of the population. There is less than 2 percent of the population terrorizing the remaining 98 percent,” he said.

The 29-year-old male victim and his 30-year-old fiancee told police they were walking home from a corner store when the group of seven to nine male teens surrounded them. One of the teens, they said, pulled out a gun and demanded money. Two of the boys encouraged the boy holding the gun to “pop him” and take his money and cigarettes.

The man refused to hand over any money, and the group of teens walked away after the block-watch member started to approach. The block-watch member said the teens did not seem overly concerned even after it had become obvious that others witnessed the attempted robbery.

“The kids were just brazen about it, just walking away like nothing happened,” he said.

The teens eventually did run away, but the victim and block-watch member followed them to the Mount Vernon home where they were arrested and identified by the victims. Police did not find the gun.

The block-watch member said the area needs a more proactive police presence to prevent these things from happening and more citizens willing to come forward and take action when they see crime in the community.

Police also are investigating two robberies reported the day before Thanksgiving.

A 19-year-old Struthers man was walking from a friend’s house near Mount Vernon just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when three teens appearing to about 15 years old approached and demanded his money. The teens took the man’s cell phone, wallet and tried to remove his shoes before telling the man to walk away.

The man told police he started to walk away and then heard a gunshot. The man told police he ran to a nearby house and called police.

Police reports also say two women entered a Family Dollar store in the 2700 block of Glenwood Avenue just after 3:30 p.m. and tried to steal cosmetics. The women, reports said, hit a manager with their car when he noticed their actions and tried to stop them by standing behind the car.

The manager was not injured. Police did not find the women.

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