2 attempted purse snatchings reported in same area of downtown Detroit

Blue Cross Blue Shield employees target of crimes, but not hurt; Company and police say they've monitoring situation

By Lauren Podell - Reporter

DETROIT - Recently, a viewer reached out to Local 4 to tell us about two attempted purse snatchings that took place in downtown Detroit -- both victims were women and both employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

"I try not to walk by myself anymore," said Lisa Martinez, a 22-year employee of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

When we asked Martinez about the attempted robberies, she knew all about them.

"There were memos sent out company-wide informing us about what happened," Martinez said. "I stopped looking at my phone while I walk and make sure I am with my husband or a friend."

Back on Sept.20,an employee was the victim of an armed attempted purse snatching on Atwater Street east of St. Antoine.

Police said two crooks pulled up in a van while the employee was walking along the street. That's when the passenger jumped out with a handgun and attempted, unsuccessfully, to steal the employee's purse. The employee was not injured and the crooks fled. 

Fast forward to Oct. 14, another employee was targeted, this time near the company's headquarters at Beaubian and Congress.                                                                                                                                 

"They had a car waiting for the guy who grabbed the purse to just jump back in," said Martinez. "That just shows they are watching and it's scary."

These days, employees like Lisa who have their hands full are relying on the company security to be extra eyes and ears.

Local 4 Cameras saw a security guard on nearly every corner around Blue Cross headquarters and the company says their presence will continue to be noticed.

Tricia Keith, BCBS senior vice president told Local 4, "We have escorts to accompany employees who feel uncomfortable walking on their own, at night or after hours. Safety is our top priority, which is why we've invested in top of the line lighting and make sure to keep employees informed of all incidents that take place."

Detroit police say they do not believe the incidents are related and are calling them crimes of opportunity.

Sgt. Michael Woody said women tend to be the target in these types of crimes since they carry purses.

Police are taking the crimes very seriously and continue to work with Blue Cross.

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