IndyCar Driver JR Hildebrand Foils Robbery Attempt

The Meridian-Kessler resident and his dog were unharmed, but the would-be thief’s pride likely suffered injury. Plus: A look at such crimes in that area this year.

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JR Hildebrand, a former Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, took to Twitter this week to break some non-racing related news. Hildebrand, 25, tweeted that he was a would-be robbery victim on Monday evening. While out walking girlfriend Kristen Paine’s dog, Indie, near the corner of 50th Street and Washington Boulevard, the open-wheel car racer was approached by a stranger in the night.

Hildebrand competes as an IndyCar and Formula Drift driver in tandem, and was likewise multitasking on this night, watching a video on his cellphone as he walked. According to The Indianapolis Star, he turned to see a man pointing a “dark-colored pistol” in his direction who then ordered the Sausalito, Calif., native—a Meridian-Kessler resident—to hand over the phone.

Instead of surrendering the phone, the astute open-wheel driver heard a “clicking” noise coming from the gun and immediately assumed it was fake. Hildebrand told IMPD officers he yelled “Get lost! … Get out of here!” which sent the suspect running east.

After calling police, Hildebrand took to Twitter to tell his 22,000 followers about the incident:

Hildebrand followed that up with another tweet describing the situation in a light manner while thanking fans for their concern:

Hildebrand, who finished second in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 to the late Dan Wheldon, had kind words for IMPD’s work, and alluded to another crime committed against him earlier this year in Seattle:

According to information available from Mapping Application for Public Safety (MAPS) at Indy.gov, Hildebrand’s Meridian-Kessler neighborhood has seen three reported incidents—including his—of “offense against person” or “property offense” since the start of 2013. An attempted burglary of a residence was reported on Sept. 24, and a vehicle was reported stolen on Oct 4.

According to the FBI, there were 3,442 reported cases of robbery in Indianapolis in 2012. For the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area, that is the equivalent of 196 cases for every 100,000 residents.

In the end, no injuries to humans or canines were involved in the Hildebrand incident aside from the would-be robber’s wounded pride, perhaps.

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