Police in the Tampa Bay area say that Hispanic immigrants are increasingly the targets of robberies.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that in 2008 alone, 55 robberies in Clearwater involved Hispanic men; similar robberies have been reported throughout the region.

Across the nation, the trend has earned its unfortunate victims a nickname: walking ATMs.

Experts point to two main factors that make Hispanic men vulnerable - cash and legal status. As restaurant workers or laborers, the immigrants are sometimes paid in cash.

And immigrants with tenuous legal status can't get a driver's license and often walk or ride bikes late at night.

These immigrants are less likely to seek help from police because they
are afraid of being deported, experts say.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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