The Atlanta Police Department said four women were robbed while walking home on the Atlanta Beltline shortly after midnight on Jan. 16.
According to a police report, the robbery happened between the Ladybird restaurant and the Mariposa lofts.
The victims told police they left the restaurant after last call and saw two people walking ahead of them. The people turned around and started walking towards them, getting within 25 meters, the report says. Both pulled out guns and demanded the victims’ purses.
“The victims described the [suspects as] two [black] males as being between 16 to 20 years of age, wearing tight dark pants, and black hooded sweaters,” the report says.
One victim ran in the opposite direction screaming and yelling along the Beltline, leaving the other three victims behind. A suspect ran after her as she ran – screaming for help – to another couple walking on the Beltline. She saw one of the other women being hit and dragged off the trail screaming as one suspect tried to take her purse. The woman who ran away crouched down on the ground against a fence, clutching her purse and yelling. One of the suspects approached her and began pulling on her purse strap while holding the gun in the other hand, demanding the purse.
The victim who fled held onto her purse and was not injured. The suspect retreated.
The woman who was knocked down told police she was knocked down because her left hand was in her jacket pocket. She screamed at the suspect to let her get her hand out of her pocket while the suspect pointed his gun at her. The suspect took her purse. She had scrapes on her left knee but declined medical attention. The other two victims had their purses stolen by the suspects but weren’t injured.
“The victims stated hearing one gun shot as the two suspects fled the scene towards Krog City Market,” the police report says. “One phone was recovered at the scene belonging to a victim from a previous robbery.” Police also recovered a 9 millimeter shell from the scene. There were no cameras in the location where the incident took place.
The Police Department said crimes like this are extremely rare along the Beltline. In more than three years since it was created, the Beltline’s PATH force unit has responded to over a dozen crimes committed in its jurisdiction. The Atlanta Police Department PATH Force unit was launched in July 2013. It has 15 officers, two sergeants and one lieutenant. They patrol the area around the Beltline seven days a week, with one day shift and one evening shift.
“In 2016, the Beltline recorded more than 1.7 million users and we have not had any robberies on the Atlanta Beltline since 2015 and those perpetrators were arrested and convicted,” the Police Department said via email. “Even so, the Atlanta Police Department takes all incidents of crime seriously. We believe this was an isolated incident that is possibly connected to other robberies that happened the same evening in the area. The Atlanta PATH Force which secures the Beltline will increase patrols in the late evening hours when usage is minimal.
“The Beltline continues to remain a safe place for residents to enjoy but we always ask people to be vigilant and if they see something, say something.”
Writer Mariann Martin contributed to this story.