92-year-old Korean War veteran robbed at gunpoint in Baton Rouge home
BATON ROUGE - Tis the season for armed robberies.
Baton Rouge Police are seeing a spike this time of year, and it usually targets holiday shoppers. Armed robbery detectives said the increase begins now and typically runs through the next five weeks until after New Year's Day.
James Rodney is one of the city's latest armed robbery victims. The 92-year-old Korean War veteran was minding his own business in his Bogan Walk home when a thief came into his garage demanding money while pointing a gun at his head.
"I've been shot at before, but that's when I was in the military," Rodney said.
He never imagined that the battle he recalled fighting would come to the garage of his Baton Rouge home in 2019.
"I walked out of the kitchen door and he said, 'alright you old mother f**** give me some godd*** money,'" Rodney recalled. "I didn't know what he was talking about."
Rodney said he put his military hat on and went into battle mode.
"He pointed the pistol at me and said if I didn't give him some money, he was going to blow my mother f***** brain," Rodney said.
At that point, the thief began rummaging through Rodney's belongings. He seized the opportunity to go into his kitchen and grab a weapon.
"I equalized the situation," Rodney said. "He's got a gun and I've got a gun. Maybe we can talk and maybe we can't."
Rodney recalls giving the thief an ultimatum.
"Hey man, I've got something... If I pull the trigger, you're going to lose your d***," Rodney told the criminal.
The encounter Rodney had with the thief is not what police recommend. Instead, they tell the public to cooperate to avoid getting hurt. Armed Robbery Detective Brian Higginbotham said the increase they are seeing in armed robberies is usually around busy shopping areas.
"Safety is in numbers," Higginbotham said. "Most robberies are one suspect robbing one victim. Robbing groups is rare."
Baton Rouge Police said they'll have plainclothes officers at some of the crowded shopping spots. They said there are things you can do to stay safe.
"Sometimes people get focused on their cell phones and forget to look around at what's going on around them," Higginbotham said.
With the increase already underway, Baton Rouge Police said it will continue over the next five weeks. Detectives cleared 38 percent of the cases last year which means if you get held up, you need to take good visual notes of who did it.
For war veteran Rodney, he's not sure if his robber will ever be caught, but knows with the heat he's packing now, he's not worried about the thief that stole more than just his peace of mind.
"Oh he's not coming back here," Rodney said. "He ran away because he was afraid. He's not coming back."
The armed bandit got away with Rodney's cell phone and some other items.
Numbers Baton Rouge Police provided WBRZ show there have been about 500 armed robberies from January until October.