Patrons robbed at gunpoint at Avondale restaurant

An armed robbery took place again at The Brick, a restaurant in The Shoppes of Avondale.

The first robbery, Oct. 17, 2017, targeted two employees who were leaving the restaurant after it closed. A little more than three months later, after exiting the restaurant Jan. 24, patrons were accosted by a gun-toting purse snatcher. 

While the armed robber, described as a slender black male, 20 to 30 years old, wrestled a handbag from one woman, her friend ran back into the restaurant for help. Several witnesses took chase until the man pulled a gun before jumping into a waiting black Dodge Neon.

The next evening following the incident, a larger-than-usual crowd attended the monthly Sheriff’s Watch meeting for Zone 4, Sector J at Ortega United Methodist Church. Questions were raised about an increased police presence, but Zone 4 encompasses a large portion of the City of Jacksonville. Although much of the crime typically occurs west of the historic district, during the same week The Brick’s patrons were targeted, three other armed robberies occurred in Riverside and an unarmed snatching occurred in Avondale.

More officers for Zone 4 had been approved last fall in the new City budget, but it takes about one year to fully train them before they are deployed.

While a conversation on social media suggested that the merchants in the Shoppes hire a security guard, that’s not going to happen unless more merchants get involved with the merchants association.

“I wish we had the money to do that. We are a very small association, and we only get half of the merchants to participate in the association by paying dues,” said Dianne Garcia, merchants association president and owner of J. Ashley Boutique.

Anyone who has any information in reference to the identity of this armed robbery suspect is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or email [email protected] To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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