MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- UW-Milwaukee police and Milwaukee police are working together to tackle a crime spree that has occurred on the city's East Side. One attempted sexual assault and nine armed or strong armed robberies (which indicates physical force was used) have occurred in recent days near the UW-Milwaukee campus.
Maggie Franzen is keeping her guard up -- especially after 10 violent incidents near campus, the majority of them involving female victims.
"It's something I've always taken into account -- being a younger woman especially. If I have to walk a block or two to my house depending on parking, you know, definitely something -- I'll always have my key in hand or I'll smoke an extra cigarette just so I have something to flick in their face," Franzen said.
Police say there have been nine attempted robberies -- four where the suspects were successful in taking something from the victims. If a weapon wasn't shown, the suspect used force -- many times grabbing the female victim out of her car.
Police believe three of the crimes are connected. These incidents happened Monday, April 20th in broad daylight. One was an attempted carjacking that occurred in the 1900 block of E. Linnwood Avenue.
The victim, a UWM student, was parking her vehicle when she was approached on foot by three unknown suspects. One opened her vehicle's door and demanded she get out. The suspects then attempted to take the victim's vehicle using bodily force.
No weapons were applied or seen.
The suspects are described as follows:
- Suspect #1: Black male, 5'8" tall, slim build, last seen wearing a red sweatshirt
- Suspect #2: Black male
- Suspect #3: Black male
Police say two attempted robberies occurred around 1:00 p.m. Monday, April 20th -- one in the 2700 block of Murray Avenue and one in the 2200 block of Bellview Place. The victims (one in each incident) were not injured. It is believed two to three suspects are responsible for these incidents. It is unclear whether a weapon was displayed or implied.
One day prior, an attempted sexual assault occurred near campus -- a block away from where Monday's attempted carjacking occurred.
It happened around midnight Sunday, April 19th in the 2000 block of E. Linnwood Ave. on the south side of the street.
The victim, a UWM student, was approached by two unknown people who forcibly pulled the victim into a nearby apartment parking lot. They attempted to assault the victim, but the victim was able to break free and fled from the suspects.
The suspects are described as:
- Suspect #1: Black male, approximately 18 to 20 years old, 6’0″ tall with long, black afro-style hair, wearing a red and white striped shirt.
- Suspect #2: Black male, approximately 18-20 years old, 6'0" tall, short, afro-style hair, wearing a white T-shirt.
Even though these crimes didn't happen ON campus, they've occurred close enough to get UW-Milwaukee police involved in the investigations. Police have also alerted students.
"We have a lot of officers out in these neighborhoods," a UW-Milwaukee police officer said.
UW-Milwaukee police are working with the Milwaukee Police Department.
"Whenever we have a spree like this, let's just call that for what it is. We galvanize all our resources into one concerted effort to go after these criminals. Once we got an area targeted, we can do a lot more specific policing. We can go after them," Lt. William Beauchene with the Milwaukee Police Department said.
Police don't, at this time, have a reason to believe all of these crimes are connected -- although many involve similar suspect descriptions. Police say they have arrested armed robbery suspects recently -- but they haven't yet connected any suspects to these specific crimes.
The following is a complete breakdown of the nine attempted/completed robberies that have occurred since early Sunday, April 19th (beginning with the most recent incident):
- 2433 North Bartlett, Monday, April 20th, 10:00 p.m. -- Completed strong armed robbery. The victim was injured and taken to the hospital, where that victim received eight stitches.
- 2856 North Oakland, Monday, April 20th, 7:30 p.m. -- Completed strong armed robbery. The victim was punched, but wasn't taken to the hospital.
- 1911 East Linnwood, Monday, April 20th, 1:00 p.m. -- Attempted carjacking of a UWM student. The victim believed a suspect had a gun, but did not see one. A suspect was not able to get away with the victim's vehicle.
- 2221 E. Bellview, Monday, April 20th, 1:00 p.m. -- Attempted robbery of a victim who was in her vehicle.
- 2720 North Murray, Monday, April 20th, 1:00 p.m. -- Attempted robbery of a victim who believed the suspect had a weapon. A suspect made the female victim get out of her vehicle. A neighbor was able to scare the suspects away.
- 1834 North Cambridge, Sunday, April 19th, 7:45 p.m. -- Strong armed robbery of a victim who was punched in the face. Neighbors heard the commotion and a suspect ran.
- 2940 North Bartlett, Sunday, April 19th, 1:35 p.m. -- Completed strong armed robbery. A victim's phone was taken, but she was not injured.
- 2379 North Cramer, Sunday, April 19th, 10:10 a.m. -- Attempted strong armed robbery. A suspect forced their way into a victim's vehicle, but couldn't drive stick shift. The suspect fled the scene.
- 2019 East Bellview, Sunday, April 19th, 2:30 a.m. -- Completed strong armed robbery. A suspect pulled the victim out of a vehicle and took it. Police were able to recover the vehicle.
UW-Milwaukee police say UWM students who experience an emergency should call 9-911 if on a campus phone, or (414) 229-9911 if using a cell phone or off-campus phone. There are also “Blue Light” Emergency SAFE phones located all over campus.
The Milwaukee Police Department's tip-line phone number is: (414) 935-7360.