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GEAUGA COUNTY -- Two Amish couples were robbed at gunpoint Sunday night as they walked along a country road.

The separate crimes happened within 17 minutes of each other on Patch Road, just north of the center of Parkman. In both incidents, young Amish couples were victimized.

A sketch of the gunman was prepared by the Geauga County Sheriff's Department with the help of one of the victims who said she got a good look at therobber and could identify him if she saw him again.

"Any time a weapon is used in a crime we take it seriously, very seriously," said Sheriff Dan McClelland. "It appears the Amish were deliberately targeted."

In the first robbery, a young couple was walking along Patch Road near Newcomb Road when a silver or whiteminivan pulled alongside them.

The man in the passenger seat pointed what appeared to be a shotgun and told the Amish man to toss his wallet into the van. He did and the van drove off.

Just 17 minutes later, another young Amish couple walking a little further west on Patch Road was victimized.

The same minivan pulled up on Patch, between Newcomb and Tavern Roads. The man in the passenger seat pulled a gun and demanded their money.

The young man and woman said they had no money, but gave the robber some cigarettes and a few other items, including a lighter, whichthe man had in his pocket.

Both victimized couples called the Sheriff's Department and were given a ride to meet with deputies and provide a description.

"If there's a perception that the Amish will not bother to report crimes, that wrong," said McClelland. "We have built a great, trusting relationship with the Amish who are an important part of our community."

The last victim described the gunman as aman about 35 to 40 years old, who was wearing a blue scarf on his head. She was able to get a good look at him because she shined a flashlight into his face.

The driver of the minivan was said to be wearing a black mask that covered everything but his eyes.

The Sheriff would like anyone who might recognize that man to call Detective Kelly at 440-279-2063, or email the detective at mkelly@co.geauga.oh.us. All tips will be kept confidential.

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