STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A string of violent attacks in Stamford has left some people afraid to go out at night, and police say these attacks have been carried out by children.
A roving gang of young people has been targeting Hispanic immigrants and robbing them, police said.
Police said they believe the suspects are targeting victims they see as unlikely to contact authorities because of their residency status, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported Friday.
Community members echoed that sentiment.
“Sometimes they are afraid to call the police because they do not have legal status in this country. That’s the problem,” restaurant manager Ludin Lopez told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
There have been four attacks over the past month.
“Unfortunately these are easy targets,” Stamford Police Lt. Diedrich Hohn said. “They work late. They’re coming home by themselves. They have cash on them. A lot of these guys don’t report it.”
Just midnight Friday, police picked up a 17-year-old suspected of another gang attack on a Hispanic immigrant. That incident last month went unreported. The victim is undocumented. Police found his wallet and eventually IDed suspect.
“And in this particular case, some of our vigilant officers spotted these guys and one of them recognized him as a young man we had an arrest warrant for. It happened very quickly and we were able to make an arrest and get this kid off the street,” Sgt. Paul Guzda told Adams.
In one case, police arrested a 12-year-old boy. In that case, an incident on June 1, the victim’s face was bloodied and his ribs were broken. The 12-year-old was charged with second-degree robbery and second-degree assault. Hohn said the boy’s mother would not allow police to speak with him.
Restaurant managers on the city’s west side say some of their foreign-born customers are scared to go out at night, and employees have started leaving in groups at the end of their shifts for safety.
Armando Valle, who manages The Maya restaurant in that area said one of his workers was held up at knifepoint a month ago.
“Now everybody is leaving together,” said Valle, who caters to a largely Guatemalan clientele.
Jessie Leon, manager of the Reyes Bar and Restaurant, said many of her customers are going home earlier since robberies have become more frequent.
“Sometimes they get scared,” she said. “They’re immigrants. They think if they fight back, the police are going to take the immigrants, and not the young kids.”
In response to the robberies police have stepped up patrols in the western part of town. If you have any information about the attacks, please contact police at 203-977-4444.
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