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Apartment robbery spree turns violent

In one case, 2 victims assaulted

Armed robbers who have been targeting apartment dwellers in Fort Wayne this week have become more brazen and more violent, city police said Friday.

Robberies were reported late Thursday at two north-side apartment complexes, bringing the total number of similar holdups to eight.

In both of Thursday’s cases, two men with guns forced their way into apartments, bound the victims’ hands and stole valuables, said officer Raquel Foster, a police spokeswoman.

In the first case, reported at 10:12 p.m., a woman told police she was followed into Island Club Apartments, 8709 Gulf Drive, near Interstate 69 and East Wallen and Auburn roads, and two men took her into her home at gunpoint.

The men tied the hands of the people in the apartment, including a toddler, Foster said. The robbers left with a TV, wallets and cellphones. No one was hurt, but the family was traumatized, Foster said.

In a second home invasion, reported at 11:33 p.m., two men with handguns came into a unit at Cambridge Square Apartments, 7529 Cold Springs Blvd., near Coldwater and East Cook roads. They bound the hands of three people and took several items, police said.

A victim who had managed to free his hands grabbed a gun and fired at the robbers as they were leaving, Foster said. It was unclear whether either robber was shot, but at 11:35 p.m., police received a report that a shooting victim had come to a hospital.

“I can’t confirm that it is related to this incident, though the timing is unique,” Foster said.

During the home invasion at Cambridge Square Apartments, the robbers injured two of the victims, kicking one in the head and hitting another in the face, police said. In all the previous robberies, no injuries were reported.

The first robbery in the string occurred Monday night at Canterbury Green at 5127 Stonehedge Blvd. Since then, holdups have been reported at apartment complexes on the north and west sides.

Some of the robberies have taken place in parking lots or near building entrances, while others have been home invasions.

While many of the robberies have been similar, a specific pattern has eluded police.

“It does really appear random,” Foster said. “There is no pattern except for apartment complexes being targeted in the dark.”

Police suspect the eight robberies are connected, but they don’t believe the same two men have committed all of them, Foster said. The descriptions of the robbers that victims have given in many cases have been similar, she said.

Investigators are following up on many leads, and they’re relying on residents to report suspicious activity and vehicles. “We don’t have the manpower to patrol all of these complexes,” she said.

Police alerted city residents Thursday, encouraging them to park in well-lit areas and be aware of their surroundings.

“Just be vigilant, be alert, don’t be distracted, trust your instincts,” Foster said. “If something seems out of place, keep driving.”

Apartment robbery locations

1. 10:58 p.m. Monday, Canterbury Apartments, 5127 Stonehedge Blvd.
2. Midnight Monday, Autumn Creek Apartments, 2026 Ardmore Ave.
3. 8:24 p.m. Tuesday, Colony Bay Apartments, 6416 Covington Road
4. 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, Autumn Creek Apartments, 2122 Ardmore Ave.
5. 9:18 p.m. Tuesday, Gardenview Apartments, 5415 N. Clinton St.
6. 9:34 p.m. Tuesday, Gardenview Apartments, 5415 N. Clinton St.
7. 10:12 p.m. Thursday, Island Club Apartments, 8709 Gulf Drive
8. 11:33 p.m. Thursday, Cambridge Square Apartments, 7529 Cold Springs Blvd.

How to help

Police say a vehicle associated with the robberies was described as a white or light-colored, boxy-style Jeep Cherokee from the late 1990s or early 2000s.
Anyone with information should call the Fort Wayne Police Department at 427-1201 or Crime Stoppers at 800-237-7867.

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