WARNING: Gunmen use elaborate set-up to target bicyclists, joggers on busy trail

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Police told Channel 2 Action News a pair of robbers tricked a bicyclist into pulling over and then pointed guns at him and stole his cellphone along the Silver Comet Trail in Cobb County.

The way the gunmen set up the victim has many families concerned.

Police said the victim was riding his bike on the trail last Friday and came across a tree branch in the path, west of Anderson Mill Road.

He stopped to pick up the branch -- and that’s when two men with guns blindsided him and demanded his wallet.

"I usually run alone. I do carry mace with me for protection," Alison Hoeh told Channel 2's Chris Jose.

Hoeh runs the Silver Comet Trail every day. She never expected someone to commit a violent crime there.

“Just so everybody knows, when you’re out here running or cycling, you have nothing on you but a cellphone. You have nothing of value. Nobody brings any money out here,” Hoeh said.


Cobb County police said they believe the robbers laid out the tree branch in the middle of the trail, waiting for someone to stop.

“It’s the first that I ever heard of that,” Officer Neil Penirelli said.

Penirelli described the robbery as unusual.

Although the gunmen became agitated, the victim was not hurt. The robbers stole his cellphone.

Police said it’s no reason to panic.

“We have a ranger unit, and they’re out there as much as they can possibly can. With 150 miles of trails, it’s impossible to cover everything all the time,” Penirelli said.

Nearly a week after the robbery, trail users are calling for increased patrols.

The county continues to install blue trail markers to improve response time, but Hoeh believes more needs to be done.

“I do wish there was some cameras. I know they put up those blue stakes, but I’m not sure if those stakes are actually going to do anything,” Hoeh said.

The robbery comes on the heels of the county's public relations push to educate trail users about the markers.

Police said Cobb County is the first in the state to roll out the safety measure.