By Victor O'Brien

Killeen Daily Herald

Temple police are hoping they have captured the source of a sharp increase in robberies that led to a record year in 2008.

Temple experienced 106 robberies in 2008, an increase of 35 over 2007 and a record high, Sgt. Brad Hunt said.

Police believe the cause of those robberies is behind bars. Hunt said several drug and weapons arrests at the end of 2008 broke up a group of four to five robbers believed responsible for the spike. Robbery numbers have returned to normal since the arrests, Hunt said.

"We believe we have solved the problem that led to the great spike last year. We still have our robberies, but what we've noticed month to month since then, it's come back to the level of what we expect," Hunt said.

The challenge has been getting the evidence to prove in court the suspects are responsible for robberies, even if the police believe they are responsible. In the meantime, the suspects are in jail on other charges.

The robbers hit restaurants as they were closing, along with convenience stores and people walking down streets, Hunt said.

Temple experienced declines in burglaries, larcenies and a single-digit increase in rapes and motor vehicle thefts.

Aggravated assaults remained constant as 96 were reported in 2007 and 2008.

Contact Victor O'Brien or (254) 501-7468.

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