Two men robbed at gunpoint in front of the Flying Biscuit at Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street on Wednesday in the heart of what’s known as the gayborhood led to the arrests of three men suspected in a rash of robberies in Virginia Highland and Midtown.

Armed robbery strikes in heart of the gayborhood

The Atlanta Police Department was able to apprehend the suspects after learning they drove away in an SUV toward DeKalb County, said APD Public Affairs Manager Carlos Campos. The suspects were arrested in a Clarkston apartment complex.

The two men were robbed at about 2 p.m. in the crowded neighborhood. Because the men were robbed in a heavily gay area of the city, the Atlanta Police LGBT liaison Patricia Powell has been notified and will be “engaged” in the investigation if necessary, Campos said.

Standard operating procedure for notifying the APD’s gay liaison is when a bias crime is suspected, Campos explained. The robberies do not appear to be targeting specific groups of people, however, he added.

“There was a pedestrian robbery at Piedmont and 10th … by three armed suspects,” Campos said. “The robbery was at gunpoint. We are very interested in talking to them [the suspects] about the recent rash of robberies specifically in Virginia Highland.”

Campos said there seemed to be no sort of pattern to the recent robberies but that the APD is doing everything possible to put a stop to the crimes, including assigning additional units to patrol Virginia Highland and Midtown as well as using undercover units.

Philip Rafshoon, owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse located across the street from the Flying Biscuit, said he saw the police response to the robbery.

“I was glad the police came right away and tracked the guys and caught them,” he said. Rafshoon also is a board member of the Atlanta Police’s GLBT Advisory Board.

He said he hasn’t noticed any robberies around his store.

“I haven’t noticed a pattern. That’s why this robbery came as a surprise,” he said.

“We always have an eye out in Outwrite and outside. This does make you more aware of your surroundings. The police response was excellent. This is a one-time thing and hopefully it will stay that way,” he added.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that police charged Patrick Terry, 20, Joe Turner, 35, and Jason Ledbetter, 33, with armed robbery.