Police and residents express concern after brazen Tuesday robberies

Outside the Midtown Walgreens, longtime customers expressed concern following Tuesday's robbery attempt at the store.

"Because you got the police station down the street there," said customer Murray Crowder. "That's why I couldn't hardly believe that this place like this could get robbed this close to the police station."

Officers say the man who tried to rob the Walgreens got caught because a police officer from the West Precinct happened to enter the store while the robber was holding a gun on the manager in a back office. Police spokesperson Sgt. Vince Higgins said while that suspect was being taken into custody, another gunman tried to hold up a Taco Bell just down the street.

"We are working to see if any of these robberies are tied together with any of the robberies we've had in this region," Higgins said.

Recent Midtown police reports indicate a slight increase in armed robberies over last year. While officers admit that it's unusual for criminals to attempt a robbery almost in the back yard of a busy police precinct, they say it has been tried before.

"The fact that they attempt to rob the store right next to the pct is brazen, however if you'll remember a couple of years ago the bank to the precinct was robbed," Higgins said.

Police say they are already in the process of stepping up patrols in the area. But officers say the best way to attack the crime problem is with the community's help.

"If we could get in the head of these suspects and predict when they are going to make a robbery attempt then maybe we could stop it," Higgins said. "At this point its going to take a coalition of the willing. That means the willing business owners, willing citizens or community, as well as the MPD department's efforts to help stem the tide."

A tide that police admit is growing.