Women pepper sprayed, robbed

Handgun and pepper spray
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St. Louis police say four teenagers are still on the loose after they pepper-sprayed and robbed a 68-year-old woman in St. Louis’s Tower Grove South neighborhood.

It happened Saturday night on the 3800 block of Humphrey Street. Two sisters, both in their late 60s, were at their brother-in-law’s house, babysitting a relative. They were leaving the house to go back home when they were attacked.

According to St. Louis police, four teenage boys approached the women on foot, pointed a gun, demanded their car keys, and sprayed mace in one of their eyes. They stole the 68-year-old woman’s purse and ran. The thieves got away with cash and credit cards, but not the car.

The victim’s brother-in-law said some neighbors saw what was happening, shouted at the criminals and immediately called police.

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According to Andrew Arkills, President of Tower Grove South’s neighborhood association, that vigilance is essential in keeping their community safe.

“It’s a continuous process of getting people out and about, and really recognizing their neighbors and what’s normal activity for their block and for their neighborhood,” he said.

According to crime statistics, the number of robberies and larcenies in this neighborhood is down from the same time last year. But while these latest victims recover, their neighbors will continue to be cautious.

“I still walk all over the place here, but I just carry my little coin purse," said Tricia Heliker who lives in the neighborhood. "I don’t carry a big purse with a lot of valuables in it, just to make sure.”

At last check with St. Louis police, there are no suspects in custody. The victim’s brother-in-law said he prays every night that the suspects are caught before they commit another crime far worse.