Police have increased their presence and warned pedestrians to be vigilant after five robberies were reported in as many days in the Maverick Square area of East Boston.
Two of the reported robberies were at gunpoint, according to an alert Boston Police sent this week.
Maria Vargas, 18, grew up and lives in East Boston. She said she and others she knows are worried by the recent spate of robberies.
“It’s concerning because it’s not something that’s been happening for a while,” said Vargas, a senior at East Boston High School. “It just started happening all of a sudden. It’s scary.”
The first robbery last Thursday reportedly happened at 6 a.m., police said. The other four reportedly occurred between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. The most recent happened on Monday.
In all five instances, victims have said they were attacked by two or more suspects, officials said. In two of the cases, the suspects reportedly wore black and white bandanas.
Cash, wallets, cell phones and a gym bag have been stolen in the robberies, according to police.
The robberies were reported in the area of: Bremen and Porter streets; Sumner and Bremen streets; Orleans and Haynes streets; Gove and Paris streets and another along Orleans Street.
At a meeting of the Eagle Hill Civic Association Wednesday night, Captain Kelley J. McCormick, District 7 commander, told neighborhood residents that while the robberies were clustered together, police aren’t convinced they are all connected.
“The descriptions on the individuals are … different for different sets of them,” he said of the robberies. “So we don’t think it’s one group for all the robberies; we just think it happened around the same place, same time.”
McCormick said extra officers are patrolling the streets in the area of the robberies.
As director of East Boston Main Streets, Max Gruner works closely with local small business owners. He said few merchants he’s worked with recently have expressed concern over the robberies.
He said he feels the neighborhood is safe and commended police for their efforts to keep it that way.
“From what I gather, people are always surprised when there’s a spree of something -- two, three, four in a row,” he said. “But overall, I believe people feel comfortable around here at night. I haven’t heard anybody voicing overt concern.”
Police reminded pedestrians to: be aware of their surroundings, especially at night; try to walk with someone else and in well-lit and populated areas; make eye contact with passersby; avoid talking on a cell phone and wearing headphones; and wear sneakers or shoes that allow for added mobility.
“If you think that someone is following you, switch direction or cross the street,” police advised. “Walk toward an open store, restaurant or residence and call police.”
Boston Police asked that anyone with information about the robberies call detectives from the A-7 District in East Boston at 617-343-4234.
Information can be given anonymously by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463), police said.