People held at gunpoint, robbed in West Tampa

Other crimes include auto burglaries, car thefts
Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 18:14:12-05

Fear is gripping a West Tampa neighborhood after a series of crimes involving suspects stealing cars and holding people at gunpoint.

On January 14, Tampa Police said someone approached a person sitting outside on their porch, held them at gunpoint and robbed them of their wallet.

Larry Beal lives just down the street and said he's seen more crime recently.

"This is like, getting outrageous," he said. "They work hard all week and then they get robbed? Sitting of their front porch?"

And a few hours later, just around the corner near Rey Park, someone walking down Cherry Street was stopped by two suspects who police said jumped out from behind a tree, forced the pedestrian down to the ground at gunpoint and robbed him of cash and $700 worth of electronics.

Vernon Hobbs lives near that area and said he now wants police to crack down on these thieves and has a message for those responsible.

They need to be prosecuted to the fullest and they need to be mindful that that could be their parents, their sister or someone that they love," Hobbs said.

Within the past week, a group of five people, including high school students, broke into an empty cigar factory. Police said the group jumped the barbed wire fence and broke a window, causing $1700 in damage.

There have also been several reports of auto burglaries and car thefts. In some cases, the doors were unlocked. In others, thieves smashed the car windows.