Thursday, July 24 2014 11:46 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:46:21 GMT
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night.More >>
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night. More >>
November 21, 2005
Albany -- Residents targeted by gun-toting robbers are fighting back after a rash of robberies in the Lake Park Subdivision, long touted as one of Albany's family-friendliest neighborhoods.
Two families have been robbed at gunpoint in their own driveways, on Partridge and Flamingo Lane. It's scary and the people who live there plan to stand up to the criminals. They called a community meeting at Lake Park Elementary.
The Lake Park community is considered a safe, upscale area where families are anxious to move to and kids can walk to school. So neighbors were shocked to hear two families were robbed at gunpoint in their driveways. One of those families, the Flynn's, decided to coordinate a neighborhood watch meeting tonight.
Inside, these people are talking about what happened and trying to figure out what needs to be done to find the suspects and end the violence.
Jermund Pollard said, "They had a gun right in front of my forehead. I don't think the people here our going to stand for this. It's not going to happen."
No one who lives in this quiet neighborhood ever imagined he'd be looking down the barrel of a gun.
Pollard said, "They were asking for my money and they asked for me to lay down on the ground."
Three masked men with guns, ambushed Jermund Pollard and his mother-in-law as stepped out of their car in the driveway of their home in the 700 block of Partridge Friday night. "The grabbed my mother-in-law's purse and dumped it out on the top of the car."
They found nothing, and then the three men then jumped into a tan-colored Lincoln Towncar and sped off,but they didn't go far. "We had just stepped out of our car, when the rushed us," said Mike Flynn.
Mike and Mandy Flynn live just around the corner in the 500 block of Flamingo. As they and their two small children stepped out of the car in their driveway, they came face to face with men with guns. "They stuck a gun in my face, they stuck a gun in the face of my eleven-year-old son, and they stuck in the face of my wife and nine-year-old daughter."
Mike gave them cash and his wallet, and he tried to keep the robbers and his family calm. "I had the feeling they were not here to kill us, they were here to rob us."
But they robbed them of much more than money. "Friday at six o'clock, my daughter was excited about Santa Claus coming to town, now she doesn't want to close her eyes at night."
Police say this terrifying robbery spree likely started early Friday morning in East Albany. Two masked men with guns robbed a man in the 1200 block of Firestone and stole his Lincoln Towncar. One hour later, to the west, another man was robbed at gunpoint outside his 9th Avenue house.
That night, the stolen Towncar was used in the holdups in Lake Park.
Mike Flynn fears the robberies will continue, and could get more violent. "I'm not going to stand for this," he said.
So he's warning his neighbors, and everyone in Albany, to be vigilant and cautious this holiday season. The neighborhood watch in the Lake Park area is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the robbers.
Monday night's meeting is also a way for families to lead how to protect themselves during the holidays, when robberies are more prevalent. These families did the right thing and gave the robbers what they wanted, but is there any way to protect yourself from robbers?
Police say leave outdoor lights on, shine you car lights through your neighbor's yard and yours before pulling into the driveway. And of course, just be aware of what going on around you at all times.
Police are on the lookout for that tan Lincoln Towncar.
There have been seven armed robberies of families or individuals since Wednesday.
Wednesday night, a man with a gun stole a women's purse on Hobson street.
Thursday night in the 600 block of Cedar Avenue, a man answered a knock at his door. Three men rushed inside and robbed him.
Friday at 2:30 AM, the masked gunmen robbed the man at the 1200 block of Firestone and stole his Lincoln Towncar.
An hour later, the man was robbed in his driveway at 1300 block of 9th Avenue.
8:00 Friday night, the Pollard's were robbed on Partridge and at 8:15, the Flynn's were held up on Flamingo.
Another robbery was reported Monday morning in the 400 block of Mercer Avenue. Dispatch said the victim was hit on the head and robbed at his home. Albany police have not made any arrests.