In the past 24 hours four women have been robbed, three of them at gunpoint, in parking lots of shopping centers in Elkhart and Goshen.
One happened just before 10 Wednesday night at the Wal-mart on County Road 6 in Elkhart, another an hour before that at the Martin's on East Jackson.
And in Goshen, just before 11, a 65-year-old woman had her purse stolen at the Meijer on Elkhart Road.
A few minutes later across the street at Kohl's a woman was nearly robbed, but used her shopping bag to knock the gun out of the thief's hands.
“One of the people here was injured because of confronting the suspect,” explains Adjutant Joseph Brown of the Goshen Police. “The other came at the suspect who had a gun. Whatever is in your purse isn't worth being shot.”
Police say women can be easier targets. “They (robbers) will approach a lone female returning to her car in a parking lot, before they will rob two men going out to their truck,” says Elkhart City Police Captain Tom Love.
Officers warn you should do your shopping during the busiest store hours and avoid being out at night if you can, especially alone. Park your car in brightly lit areas, near other vehicles. Be aware of your surroundings and always hide your personal belonging inside your locked vehicle.
Today police arrested 41-year-old Veronica Ponce when she tried to cash a check belonging to a victim of last night's robberies. Investigators believe Ponce was in cahoots with other thieves who've been preying on women in parking lots. They plan to make more arrests very soon.