Police are seeking the public’s assistance in locating or identifying those responsible for a string of at least nine armed robberies in the northwest section of the city committed during the last three months.
The robberies began on April 11 at McKemy and Howe streets. The most recent was reported July 11 at 700 S. Mill Ave.
During that time, a group of up to four suspects approach the victims as they walk in a parking lot or along the street and ask them questions such as, “Are you an ASU student?” or “Can I borrow your phone?” After getting the victim’s attention, the suspects point a handgun at the victim and takes their belongings.
Of the nine reported armed robberies, five of them were along 5th Street, and six of them have happened in the hours between 1:57 a.m. and 5:13 a.m., according to information from police.
Police do not believe at this time that there is any connection between the armed robberies and the unsolved death of 21-year-old ASU student Kyleigh Sousa, according to Tempe police spokesman Steven Carbajal.
Police and witnesses said Sousa was approached in the 200 block of Apache Boulevard in front of an International House of Pancakes shortly after 2 a.m. on June 26 by a heavyset Hispanic man in a newer model silver Chrysler 300 or possibly a silver Dodge Charger.
Sousa’s male friend’s wallet was taken and as Sousa turned her back, the man grabbed her purse and sped off, causing her to become entangled in its straps and dragged by the car. She was pronounced dead hours later at a local hospital.
Police remind those walking in those areas in the 200 to 700 blocks of West Fifth Street, along Mill Avenue, Roosevelt Drive and Ash Avenue, to be aware of their surroundings, limit distractions, walk in groups and make sure their cell phones are charged in case of an emergency.
If anyone has any information about the armed robberies or Sousa’s death, call Tempe police at (480) 350-8311 or Silent Witness at (480) 948-6377.