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FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2007
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Teens allegedly targeted hispanics for robbery

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — Three Athens teens who allegedly targeted Hispanic victims are facing robbery charges, Athens police said.

Capt. Marty Bruce identified the teens as British Martel Bledsoe, 18, of 202 N. DeBeth Plaza; Laquinten D. Malone, 19, of 1199 Widows Drive; and Maurice Rashod Ratliff, 18, of 1707 Lucas St.

Tuesday at 10:29 p.m., the three, allegedly armed with handguns, approached a Hispanic male at the Wash and Gossip laundry on East Hobbs Street, Bruce said. The victim gave the robbers an undisclosed amount of cash.

The victim saw the robbers leave in a gray Toyota. Officer Jay Looney stopped the car at Washington and Jefferson streets, Bruce said, and brought the teens in for the victim to identify.

Lt. Floyd Johnson and detectives Dustin Lansford and Daniel McNatt determined that Bledsoe and Malone allegedly tried to rob another Hispanic male March 10, Bruce said.

Johnson said that victim was outside the Tienda Mexicana store on North Jefferson Street when he saw two men with guns coming toward him. Johnson said the victim got inside the building and locked the door before the men could rob him.

Johnson said police are investigating whether any of the three were involved in another March 10 robbery of a Hispanic man at the Wash and Gossip.

In that robbery, two men with guns took money from the victim's pocket.

There could be other victims who have not contacted police. Johnson said the Hispanic community is sometimes hesitant to report crimes.

Bledsoe is the Limestone County Jail charged with first-degree robbery, attempted robbery and carrying a concealed pistol without a permit. His bond is set at $500 for the weapon charge, but bond is not set on the robbery charges.

Malone is in jail without bond set, charged with first-degree robbery and attempted robbery. Ratliff is in jail without bond set, charged with first-degree robbery.

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