Police: Suspects attack, rob father with son on American Tobacco Trail

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Crime has struck again on the American Tobacco Trail

On Wednesday, William White took his first bike ride on Durham County's 22-mile American Tobacco Trail.

"It's a beautiful day, and I just wanted the opportunity to explore it," White said.

His exploration began with disappointment after ABC11 told him a father and son were attacked and robbed at gunpoint Tuesday evening.

"I think it's a shame," White said. "The trails are a public space. Public spaces ought to be safe for the public."

Durham Police say it happened about 8 p.m. at the trail near the intersection of Cornwallis Road and Fayetteville Street. Investigators said three men approached the father and son -- one of them implying he had a gun -- demanding money. One of the attackers punched the father. The man and his 12-year-old child were able to get away - but the thieves stole the boy's mountain bike.

They were last seen on East Cornwallis Road near Industry Lane.

"It's kind of despicable," said Dan Young, who uses a wheelchair. Young uses the trail once a week to get some exercise, but his plans may now change.

"Maybe I come with someone - a friend, if I ever feel threatened," Young said.

Police recommend people who use the trail to go in groups. In April, a man was attacked along the trail at knife point - police say his wallet was stolen. The thief is still out there.

Durham Police said they have officers patrolling the trail around the clock -- by foot, bike and on UTVs.

Police say trust your instincts. It's a good idea not to use earphones so you can be alert. And always have your cell phone handy.

All three suspects were described as black teenagers, appearing to be between 16 and 18 years old. The first suspect was about 6' to 6'2" and had lighter spots on his face. He was last seen wearing a black hat, gray sweatshirt, and jeans. The second and third suspects were described having dark skin and about 5'8" to 5'9" tall. One was wearing a red T-shirt and the other had on a black jacket. Both suspects were wearing jeans.

Investigators are actively working on the case.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200.

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