DALLAS - Several suspects believed to be connected to a string of robberies in Oak Cliff and East Dallas are now behind bars.
Dallas Police Department Deputy Chief Thomas Castro said officers detained five people, including at least one juvenile, for questioning early Tuesday morning.
Police are not releasing the names or photos of anyone arrested yet because they don’t want to compromise the investigation. They are still hoping victims can identify other potential suspects.
Detectives have been searching for a group of thieves that is likely responsible for nine robberies since the end of November. Most of the crimes happened in the same area and the motive in all nine cases has been the same.
In all of the robberies, the victims were robbed while getting into or out of their cars. They were approached by several young Hispanic males and possibly one black male.
There is surveillance video that shows the thieves in both a black Cadillac four-door sedan and a gold pickup truck.
“We had an idea of one of these individuals. We had a good indication that he was responsible,” Deputy Chief Castro said.
Dallas high school teacher Brianna Martinez was one of the victims. She said she was just getting home from work on Nolte Drive around 6 p.m. on Dec. 4. She went inside to drop off food for her family and was stepping back out to send a text. That’s when she said she was rushed by three men. Another man was sitting in the driver's seat of a Nissan Sentra, which police said was stolen from another victim.
Martinez said they pointed a gun at her, stole her phone and wallet and asked for pin numbers. It was the same MO in the eight other robberies.
"I can't believe they had the nerve to do all those things,” she said. “To see these people helpless."
On Tuesday morning, DPD announced they had arrested three suspects. One man was arrested for two counts of aggravated robbery and another man was arrested for unauthorized use of a vehicle, and a juvenile boy on an unknown charge. Police have only linked the man charged with robbery to the crimes.
By Tuesday night, police charged the man with two more counts of aggravated robbery and arrested two more men on four counts of aggravated robbery each.
Police said they are still investigating whether they have arrested all the suspects. They do not want the suspects' names released until victims have a chance to identify them in a lineup.
Two men stole Kimberly Struebig’s car on Monday as she was coming home from work. Police said her Nissan was used in some of the robberies in Dallas and was later recovered trashed and riddled with bullet holes.
“I’m still on edge because those people are still out there,” she said. “I leaned over to get my purse and whenever I sat back up, two guys were on my window, knocking on it with a gun. They were telling me to get out.”
Even with news of the arrests, Struebig said it doesn't put her at ease.
Meanwhile, police in Carrollton no longer believe a robbery that happened in their city Sunday morning is connected to the Dallas cases.
The Carrollton Police Department said a man was robbed around 2:30 a.m. Sunday as he was coming home from work. The thieves stole his belongings and his work truck.
Officers later spotted that stolen vehicle on I-35E and chased it. The person inside ran away, but police said they were able to collect evidence from the vehicle to determine the cases are not related.
"A collaboration with the Dallas Police Department indicates no similarities other than the general method of operation," Carrollton PD said.
Police also said they do not believe there is any immediate, on-going threat to Carrollton. They reminded people that it is always a good idea to remain alert and pay attention to their surroundings.
Dallas police said they’re continuing to talk with surrounding police departments to see if any others are seeing similar robberies by the same group of suspects. More charges could be added.