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News Story
Updated: 01/16/2014 08:00:05AM

Migrants targeted in robberies

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By MAT DELANEY

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The number of robberies against Hispanic migrant workers is increasing in Highlands County, and now Lake Placid police are also investigating complaints. Police Chief James Fansler said four migrant workers were assaulted and three of them robbed in as many days.

Fansler said it is uncertain if the assailants in each of the cases are the same. It is known that the thieves seem to be targeting Hispanic migrant workers.

On Friday, Jan. 10, two males wearing masks approached two Hispanic males and demanded money. “One of the suspects was reportedly carrying a firearm and struck one of the victims during the robbery,” Fansler said in a news release. “The victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries.”

Then another victim reported that he was also robbed in that same vicinity by two men who demanded money, Fansler said.

The next day, Saturday, Jan. 11, two Hispanic males reported a red car pulled up to them and that one male left the vehicle, pointed a gun at them and demanded money, Fansler said. That robbery occurred near Poinsettia and Magnolia streets in uptown Lake Placid.

On Sunday, Jan. 12, a Hispanic male reported that two men chased him, but never actually robbed him. He said one of them hit him, the report said. The man’s injuries were minor, reports noted.

Anyone with information should contact the Lake Placid Police Department at 863-699-3757 or email lppd.tips@gmail.com. Those who wish to be anonymous can contact Heartland Crime Stoppers at 800-226-8477 or go to www.heartland crimestoppers.com.

Since December, at least 10 such robberies were reported in Avon Park and Lake Placid.

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office recently arrested two men, who they say robbed an undercover deputy posing as a migrant worker in Avon Park. The sheriff’s office did the sting operation after getting reports of four robberies involving migrant workers. So far, those suspects have not been charged in connection with the four other robberies, which were reported in the Avon Park area.

Last month, the sheriff’s office arrested seven people in connection with a home invasion robbery in Sun ‘N Lakes in Lake Placid. The victims reported the suspects broke into the home and attacked and robbed them.

Another case in Sun ‘N Lakes in Lake Placid on Jan. 5 involved a Hispanic male, who was robbed by two men as he walked along St. Lucie Street, according to Nell Hays, public information officer for the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives are looking for a small red car that was in the area at the time of the robbery, Hays said. That car could match the description of the red car used in the robbery in downtown Lake Placid. Anyone with information is asked to call Highlands County Detective Bret Hinkle at 863-381-0669 or 863-402-7252; or call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 800-226-8477.




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