Police to focus on area of South Side

Police to focus on area of South Side

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



A Wednesday evening robbery has police re-focused on an area of the South Side that had become a problem for authorities in late 2012.

A 29-year-old Powers Way man told police he returned home from grocery shopping shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday and was surprised by two men standing in an obscure area of his driveway. One of the men brandished a gun and demanded money.

The victim handed over a wallet, and the armed man also snatched a gold chain from the man’s neck before the two armed men ran off toward Midlothian Boulevard.

Police spent at least the next hour setting up a perimeter around the area and tracking footprints left in the snow. Officers at one point searched a garage on Windsor Avenue using police dogs, but were unable to find the men.

Police Chief Rod Foley said the Midlothian Boulevard/South Avenue area of the South Side became somewhat of a hotbed for armed thieves toward the end of last year, causing police to increase patrols in the area and make a number of arrests.

“We did make a bunch of arrests for people doing business robberies and [other] robberies. We saw a few of those a couple of months ago, but we are not sure if those are tied into this,” the chief said. “This is the first one we have seen in weeks.”

Foley said it is crimes similar to this that the department is looking to stop with interdiction patrols and removal of criminals walking the street looking for crimes of opportunity.

Those people, he said, are often armed when stopped by police and that gives officers cause to make an arrest — hopefully before they can commit a crime.

“We want to make those people uncomfortable walking around with these guns or anything else illegal,” he said.

The arrests made late last year, Foley said, seemed to have put an end to the robberies in the target area, but with this most recent crime the department will re-focus on the area.

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