Muggings put citizens on alert

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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It’s not something you’d expect in Decatur.

But a pair of muggings near Wal-Mart in Decatur over the past week have residents worried.

The first robbery occurred late Thursday night behind the Dollar General store.

“My son was walking to Wal-Mart, and he was taking the back way, when two white men and one black man blindsided him,” said Kim Saling. “One of them struck him in the temple.”

The trio continued to beat him, leaving him “bruised and bloody.” They proceeded to break his cell phone and steal everything they could from him, including his shoes and medication.

A few days later, on Saturday afternoon, another man reported getting robbed at Wal-Mart, this time in broad daylight in the parking lot by the garden center.

Forty-six-year old Jose Rodriguez of Bridgeport pulled into the parking lot about 4:30 p.m.

“After he got out of his vehicle, two men came up behind him,” said Captain Kevin Benton with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office. “One of them was armed with a knife. They demanded his money.”

In the incident report, Rodriguez described one of the assailants as a black man who looked about 20 years old. The second a white man with dirty blond hair about the same age. Both were dressed in baggy clothes.

Rodriguez proceeded to give the muggers all the money he had on him, which totaled about $300. After being robbed, Rodriguez left the scene and later called 911 from Bridgeport. The sheriff’s office did the initial investigation, then turned the report over to the Decatur Police Department.

No suspects have been named in the muggings, but Saling thinks the robberies are being committed by several people living in a field behind the Dollar General. Tarps have been erected as a temporary shelter in a copse of trees and brambles located in the overgrown field. They’ve propped up a makeshift ladder from a trail leading out of the thicket into the alley behind the nearby strip mall off Farm Road 51 in Decatur.

Saling is worried there will be more victims if something is not done.

“It’s a serious problem – it is getting scary,” Saling said. “They are getting desperate. They are beating people up for anything they can get. And when people get desperate, you never know how far they are willing to go. They might start going into houses next.

“There are a lot of businesses in that area, and a lot of women and elderly people frequent them. Everybody needs to be aware and watch out for each other. They also need to protect themselves whether it’s mace or a stun gun.

“I don’t go anywhere now without protection.”

4 Responses to “Muggings put citizens on alert”

  1. If this is going to start happening, then we need to purge the area of the homeless. I am sure children play in those fields and explore that area like we all did as children. It makes it way too dangerous. I understand people being in hard times and circumstances but when you harm people that is intolerable and must be stopped.

  2. I can’t agree with Nathan more. A shame
    we don’t have a society like when I was growing
    up. When folks could leave their doors
    unlocked at night and still sleep good. Nip
    this in the bud NOW before any more
    people get hurt, or worse.

  3. Carolyn Peet says:

    Why in the world did Rodriguez drive all the way back to Bridgeport before calling 911? Those thugs could probably have been caught if he had called right away.

  4. Ted H. Shaw says:

    So if tarps have been erected in the trees behind the strip center, and it is suspected that the homeless are living there, then what is law enforcement doing about it? Surely the man from Bridgeport could identify the muggers. This is not something we would expect at Walmart in broad daylight, and especially in Decatur. It definitely causes some concern for those of us who shop at Walmart. Perhaps Walmart needs to hire security for the parking lot.


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