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Robber takes woman's wallet near Kmart

An Oak Harbor City Councilman’s wife was mugged in the Kmart parking lot in broad daylight Tuesday morning, scaring the bejesus out of her.

It was the second strong-arm robbery in the city in less than two weeks, though police doubt they are connected.

Liz Gerber, whose husband is Councilman Eric Gerber, stopped at Ennen’s on the way to pick up their kids at around 10 a.m. She said she was walking back from the mailbox next to Kmart, carrying a wallet in her hand, when she noticed a man was following her.

Gerber said she realized the man in a hooded sweatshirt was gaining on her, so she started to weave between the cars. The man said something to her and she stopped and turned to him. He told her to give him the wallet.

Stunned, Gerber asked him to repeat himself. The robber pointed something at her from within the pocket on his sweatshirt jacket, apparently insinuating that he had a gun. “He said, ‘Give me the wallet or I’ll use this,’ ” Gerber explained.

Still in a state of shock, Gerber said she stared at the man and finally handed her wallet to him. He grabbed it from her and ran off across the parking lot, heading in a southerly direction.

Gerber immediately went into Kmart and called police. Capt. Rick Wallace of the Oak Harbor Police said officers quickly searched the area but were unable to find anyone fitting the description. She described the robber as a olive-skinned man in his 20s with dark eyebrows and wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Wallace said the mugging “doesn’t seem connected” to a Sept. 27 robbery, but investigators aren’t ruling it out.

In that case, a couple of men stole some cash from a woman near the 7-Eleven store on the south side of the city. Wallace said the woman was also walking with her wallet in her hand.

According to Wallace, one of the men grabbed the wallet from her, took the cash out and threw the wallet on the ground. The two men then got into a vehicle and drove away.

Wallace said the investigation was hampered because the woman didn’t report the robbery, which occurred at about 8 a.m., until after she went to work. By then, the men were long gone.

Tuesday afternoon, Gerber was still recovering from the shock and fright and was a little worn out by repeating the story so much.

“I feel violated,” she said. “He took my wallet, but he also took away my easy feeling of living in a small town. ... I’m trying not to cry and be emotional about it, but I’m just in a state of shock over why someone would do something like this.”

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