Friday, December 09, 2005

Police Chief says that crime affecting tourism.

Key West Police Chief William Mauldin conducted a press conference this afternoon to announce the arrest of two teenagers for the assault and robbery of a Cape Hatteras, NC woman at Mallory Square last Sunday, December 4 at 9:30 PM. The 52-year old woman's handbag was wrested from her grip at gunpoint. The female alleged assailant, Lisa Roberts, 17 held a BB gun on the woman. The male suspect, 18-year old Andra Winn, allegedly punched and kicked the victim, causing facial injuries including fractures, cuts and severe bruising, as well as the loss of two teeth.

He opened the press conference by saying that recent violent incidents, including the pellet-gun shooting of a tourist in front of the Hemingway House, are affecting tourism. The perpetrator of that assault, another 18-year old, is known and is still being sought by police.

Chief Mauldin credited the quick arrests to a multi-disciplinary approach to solving the crime, including joint operations by the Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Bureau, and the Special Operations team (formerly the Street Crimes unit). Identification of the perpetrators was made possible by video surveillance cameras installed at Mallory Square as part of the Port Security systems established with federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security. The ID's were later corroborated by information received from the public. The victim's family offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of either or both of her attackers. Crime Stoppers also offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. The two were arrested at a home in the 300 block of Virginia St. Evidence was gathered there and at another location in Bahama Village tying the two to the crime. Winn was also booked on outstanding warrants charging drug sales.

The victim attended the press conference and thanked police for apprehending her attackers so promptly. She said that she is a frequent visitor to Key West. When asked if the attack was likely to cause her to not return, she said that she was a victim of violence that might have happened anywhere, and that she would certainly continue to visit here.

The Chief's full statement is here.

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