The first incident unfolded around 5:30 a.m., when a woman standing in her front yard observed a dark-colored Mercedes Benz with four occupants approach her property in the 3500 block of Esmond Avenue at 35th Street, Richmond police Lt. Shawn Pickett said.
"She sensed they were up to no good, so she went through a side gate to her rear yard," Pickett said.
Two of the men stepped up to the woman, pointed a black semi-automatic pistol at her and demanded money. The woman complied, surrendering her wallet to the thieves, he said.
An hour later and half a mile away, a man sitting in his car near 34th Street and Rheem Avenue noticed the quartet cruising along in the charcoal-colored Mercedes Benz.
"He thought it was suspicious, and that it looked like trouble," Pickett said.
The same two individuals approached the man, again demanding money. When the man explained he had none, the perpetrators rummaged through his penniless pockets and filched the man's cell phone before taking off in their vehicle, Pickett said.
At 6:53 a.m., police received a call of shots fired in the 300 block of South 38th Street near Cutting Boulevard, which is roughly two miles from where the man was robbed.
Officers found that some 30 shots crisscrossed the air, riddling the Mercedes Benz, which had crashed into a home on the 400 block of South 38th Street.
"Either they were shot at or they were trying to shoot at someone," Pickett said. "It was likely an attempted robbery gone wrong."
Both the vehicle and the residence incurred major damage as a result of the crash, he said.
Witness reports of the men running east on Cutting Boulevard led police to the men, who were subsequently arrested.
Pickett said police recovered all the stolen property and the firearms used in the armed robberies.