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City park robbery isolated incident, police say

May 15, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown Police said an early morning strong-arm robbery in City Park almost two weeks ago was an isolated incident.

Sgt. Paul Kifer said people should not be afraid to go to the park, but should use some caution when visiting.

"This is very uncommon," he said. "I think this (robbery) was just based on the time of day. It was a chance opportunity thing."

The man was robbed by two men May 3 while walking to work through the park about 5:30 a.m., police said. The men struck the victim on the head and knocked him to the ground before taking his wallet, wristwatch and other items.

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"Victims are typically people who are seen by criminals as being a prime opportunity," Kifer said. "They give off the impression that they're not paying attention."

Criminals, he said, often will take advantage of people they believe are the most vulnerable or the easiest targets.

Kifer said this incident was unusual and that he didn't recall any recent robberies of this kind at City Park.

"I would never recommend someone to walk through City Park at 4:30 or 5 in the morning," he said. "Common sense will ultimately keep you from being a victim."

Kifer said the suspects, who were both described as white men with short, trimmed beards and tattoos on both arms, have not been found.

One of the men was described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, and wearing blue jeans and hiking boots, police said. The other was described as 6 feet tall, 160 pounds, wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans and hiking boots. Both men were described as being dirty or rugged looking, police said.

Anyone with information about the incident may call police at 301-790-3700 or send an anonymous tip via e-mail to crimetip@hagerstownpd.org.

Kifer offered the following tips to stay safe at City Park:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

  • If you are going to the park, be sure to go during daylight hours. If you have to go to the park early or late, walk in well-lit areas.

  • Go to the park with someone else if you can.

  • Give off the appearance that you are alert and aware. For example, if you wear a purse, keep it draped across your chest, not just over your shoulder.
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