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Posted on Wed. Jan. 23, 2013 - 12:16 am EDT

Arrest made in 1 apartment robbery

Police: Accused might be linked to 2nd holdup Jan. 11

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FORT WAYNE — Police made an arrest Tuesday in one of the 13 similar robberies committed this month at Fort Wayne apartment complexes.

Devonte M. Hamlet, 20, is accused of robbing and binding the hands of a family during a home invasion Jan. 11 at Island Club Apartments. He’s also the same man who came to a hospital with a gunshot wound just after another home invasion was reported later that night, in which a victim fired at a robber, said officer Raquel Foster, a city police spokeswoman.

In the first home invasion, reported at 10:12 p.m., a woman told police she was followed into Island Club Apartments, near East Wallen and Auburn roads, and two men forced her into her apartment at gunpoint. The men tied her hands and those of two others, including a toddler, before leaving with valuables. No one was hurt, police said.

Hamlet has been preliminarily charged with that robbery but not with the other home invasion reported at 11:33 that night at Cambridge Square Apartments, near Coldwater and East Cook roads.

In that case, two men with handguns came into an apartment, bound the hands of three people, beat two of them and took several items, police said.

A victim who managed to free his hands picked up a handgun in the apartment and fired at the robbers as they left, police said. It was not clear whether either robber was shot, but at 11:35 p.m., police received a report that a shooting victim had come to a hospital.

That victim was Hamlet, Foster said. However, she could not confirm that he was shot during that robbery. Asked whether he will be charged in that robbery, she said, “He’s not being excluded from any other similar robbery investigations.”

Foster said detectives asked Hamlet to come to police headquarters Tuesday to talk about the shooting that wounded him. He showed up on his own, and while meeting with detectives, the robbery at Island Club Apartments was discussed, she said.

Hamlet was subsequently arrested, Foster said, adding that investigators had evidence linking him to the crime scene. Hamlet’s accomplice at Island Club Apartments remains at large.

The rash of robberies at apartment complexes started Jan. 7, and victims have usually been alone at night in parking lots or near building entrances. The Jan. 11 robberies were the only ones in which victims’ hands were bound. Robbers have sometimes worked in pairs and other times alone.

Police cannot definitively link all the holdups, and they don’t believe all of them were committed by the same one or two people. But investigators say they have suspects other than Hamlet.

“We do anticipate more arrests and more charges,” Foster said. “This is just the beginning.”

In the robbery at Island Club Apartments, Hamlet is preliminarily charged with two counts of robbery and three counts of criminal confinement. Hamlet, of the 3500 block of the Smith Street, was being held Tuesday night at the Allen County Lockup in lieu of $65,000 bail.

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