A central Texas man was arrested this week and charged with over 20 counts of aggravated robbery for multiple incidents that took place in a 35-day period.
Members of the Austin Police Department’s Robbery Unit arrested Brian Degrate, 33, on Friday and charged him with 21 counts of aggravated robbery and one count of robbery by assault.
Police said Degrate, a convicted felon and known robbery suspect, engaged in at least 16 robberies in North Austin, each of which targeted members of the Hispanic, non-English speaking community.
The first incident took place on Sept. 14, and according to police Degrate and another suspect approached and pointed a gun at the victim before swinging a bat at the victim’s head. The two suspects then threatened to kill the victim, police said, and ran off with the victim’s wallet.
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Two days later, Degrate allegedly held a victim at gunpoint in an apartment complex parking lot and stole money from the victim’s wallet.
In the same apartment complex on Sept. 19, Degrate hit a victim with a bat before taking the victim’s keys, car, and cell phone, police said. The car was found a short time later.
Many of the incidents took place in the early morning hours, according to police, and Degrate is accused of using weapons like handguns, a machete, hammer, pepper spray, an electric stun gun, and his own fists to injury the victims before stealing their property.
In some cases, Degrate worked alone, while in others he worked with at least two additional people.
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Police said the two additional suspects participated in some of the earlier robberies and investigators are actively working on those cases.
Degrate’s history includes convictions for aggravated robbery, robbery, and burglary of a vehicle.
As police continue to investigate the string of robberies, they ask the community to remain vigilant and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
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