A series of armed robberies at local cafes and businesses around Ditmas Park in recent weeks have left locals decidedly unnerved. The latest incident happened around 8:50 p.m. on Thursday, when a gunman stole three laptops and iPads from a group of writers, who were having a weekly meeting, inside Lark Cafe on Church Avenue. "It was our turn last night," Kari Browne, owner of the Lark, told the Times. "Everyone feels like it could happen to them."

Browne wrote on Facebook about the incident:

Our business community has been experiencing a recent wave of robberies in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, it was our turn last night. It is a terrible feeling of being so vulnerable and experiencing such a violation of trust, of respect and of humanity. As a business, open to the public, it is our pleasure to serve and welcome. It's a terrible thing when an act violates our community, our business and our neighbors. Our hearts are heavy for those whose worlds were shaken last night, and for those who now carry a bit more suspicion, a bit more anxiety, a bit more fear. We thank you for your continued support and are grateful for the wonderful community we serve on a daily basis. May you all be safe, be well and be strong in the face of fear.

Police say that there have been at least six holdups, counting the Lark incident, which fit the robbery pattern. In every incident so far, the armed robbers—clad in hooded sweatshirts and masks—take money from cash registers as well as wallets, jewelry, computers and other belongings of patrons at the places. People are comparing the robberies to the Honey Bunny holdup scene from Pulp Fiction.

"Everyone had their hands up and there was a guy with a gun and I was just kind of standing there with menus and of course I put my hands up," Becca Pedinotti, manager of Mimi’s Hummus, told CBS about the robbery at her restaurant. Other robberies confirmed to be part of the pattern have occurred at the Ox Cart Tavern and Stratford Deli. Ditmas Park Corner reports that at a community meeting this week, cops pledged to put more officers around the area’s commercial hubs during the holiday season.

So what could be sparking the rise in robberies? Many locals think they might have something to do with gentrification. From the Times:

In interviews on Friday, business owners speculated that the new wealth was pushing up against older poverty and creating crimes of opportunity or even hostility.

“There’s a lot of transition,” Ms. Browne said, “multimillion-dollar homes pushed up against rough apartment complexes. Everyone is here. That’s what people love about this place. But the edges clash.”

Ms. Otto-Cole agreed: “There is talk of the neighborhood gentrifying and it being easy targets.”

“Worst-case scenario,” Mr. Sheridan said, “the robberies are a pushback against the new people in the neighborhood.”