JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police said that a pattern of attacks has hit the Southside in recent days and all the victims are Hispanic men. Crooks are stealing their cash.
In one robbery, the man was kicked to the ground and a hammer was used. He was targeted because the attacker likely knew he was carrying cash, according to police.
There have been multiple reports of Hispanic men being targeted and attacked with both guns and hammers.
There are at least three reports so far on the Southside. In another case on Powers Avenue, an attacker “hit him in the head approximately 4 times with a hammer while telling him 'be quiet, keep it down and give me the money.'” In another case on Barnhill Drive, someone “struck the victim three times with a large metal hammer.”
"They’re walking out on this road with a lot of cash," said Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst. "That’s because they don’t have Social Security numbers. All of them are not legal."
Smith said that a lot of immigrants live in Southside apartment complexes. He said these immigrants can be targets for some criminals because they often get paid in cash.
"The criminals are assuming they’re not legal," Smith said. "So they can go ahead and rob them and then know that (they probably won't be reported). I’m sure this is a very under-reported crime."
Local immigration attorney Rebecca Black isn't surprised by the hesitation in some victims to come forward.
"(The criminals) know it, and they target these individuals," said Black, who also said that it has gotten worse since President Trump was elected. "They’re afraid now, even though there’s programs in place to protect them. They’re really terrified to go to local law enforcement and say these bad things are happening."
News4Jax has learned of a possible fourth case at the Countryside Village mobile home park on Beach Boulevard. On Friday night, there was no hammer used, but a Hispanic man was shot and the attacker asked him “Where’s the deniro (SIC)?”
Police are searching for the attackers. People with information can call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.