Indianapolis (Feb. 2, 2016) - Indianapolis Metropolitan Police are reaching out to Mexican business owners after two recent robberies at Mexican-owned businesses on the northwest side of the city.
“Two particular robberies that appear to have been committed by the same group of individuals that have specifically targeted Latino or Mexican restaurants,” said IMPD Lt. Richard Riddle.
The first robbery happened January 14, at El Taqueria Maguey in the 3900 block of North High School Road. Police say four men with covered faces and armed with guns came in the front door around 10:45 p.m. The four men used their guns to take control of the dining area full of customers, then let a fifth suspect in through a back door.
“We have surveillance footage of an individual that appears to be carrying what looks to be an AK-47,” Riddle said. “The other individuals appear to be carrying handguns.”
The suspects took cash, jewelry and cell phones from customers. During the robbery, one suspect fired a single shot into a kitchen wall. The suspects ran outside and got away in a car.
Nobody was injured in the robbery. But police are concerned by the boldness of the crime, which took place during business hours.
“It appears that these individuals are not afraid to use their weapons during these robberies,” Riddle said.
A second robbery happened Jan. 20 at Los 3 Hermanos, a Mexican grocery story located in the 4700 block of W 34th Street. Police say three men with covered faces and guns came in around 7 p.m., while a possible fourth suspect acted as a lookout. The suspect got cash from the register, and took a cell phone and debit card from a shopper who was in the store. The suspects got away in a dark gray sedan, which may have been a Dodge Stratus.
“These three to four individuals are brazen enough to commit these robberies during business hours,” Riddle said. “They appear to be specifically targeting the customers.”
The robberies prompted IMPD to organize a crime prevention meeting in which police hope to reach out to business owners on the northwest side. Police particularly want to forge new relationships with Mexican business owners who may have been hesitant to report crimes due to perceived cultural barriers between themselves and police.
“If a crime occurs and you are the victim of a crime, we need to hear about it,” Riddle said. “Not only to solve that, but to build that relationship and that trust in our communities.”
IMPD also plans to encourage business owners to avoid keeping cash in their stores and restaurants.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 9:00 at IMPD’s Northwest District Headquarters, located at 3821 Industrial Boulevard. The meeting is open to all business owners.