One afternoon last week, a woman was heading to her car in Plaza Midwood when a man stopped her and asked her for a cigarette.
Then he grabbed her purse and left, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.
She wasn’t alone. Back in November, another woman was robbed at the same intersection – Central Avenue and Thomas Avenue, right in the middle of Plaza Midwood’s commercial district.
And on Jan. 10, just one day after the cigarette case, another woman was robbed on Thomas Avenue. The circumstances were similar.
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“As he approached them with conversation, he would take – forcefully take – whatever it was that he could get his hands on, whether it’s a pocketbook, cell phone, whatever the case may be,” Capt. Torri Tellis said.
CMPD officers talked about the robberies with business owners and managers around Plaza Midwood, Tellis said, and they were eventually able to send out a description of the man involved.
During the Jan. 10 robbery, someone spotted Donovan Davis and recognized him as the man police were looking for. That led to his arrest on Jan. 12.
Donovan Davis, 25, has been charged with three counts of common law robbery. In each case, the victim was a woman walking alone.
Police are still figuring out if Davis was involved with any other recent cases. He wasn’t armed during these incidents, Tellis said, but he’s been charged with armed robbery in the past.
Tellis said community cooperation was key to solving the cases, even though Plaza Midwood has police officers on foot patrol who keep an eye out in the area.
“He was showing up when (police) weren’t there, and those extra eyes from those business owners or managers or patrons that actually made that call made this a success,” he said.