Four young men with gang ties were arrested Wednesday night for an alleged attempted mugging and mugging in separate incidents on the east side, Madison police reported.

Police said that brings to 18 the number of suspects arrested since April for a string of strong-arm robberies, batteries and disorderly conduct cases involving weapons, as officers crack down on street  violence.

"The department has taken a proactive role in having the community policing teams and patrol officers pay special attention to target areas," said police spokesman Officer Howard Payne.

"The four subjects taken into custody in these two cases have verified gang affiliations," Payne said. "Madison police will continue to focus on the overall reduction of these incidents."

Police have said a number of the recent attempted muggings and muggings in the city this summer are being committed by young men engaged in a strategy called "point 'em out, knock 'em out," where a victim is singled out by the muggers then attacked.

The two incidents on Wednesday night happened in quick succession and in the same area — near Thierer Road and Eagan Road, just west of East Towne Mall.

Arrested in the two incidents were Mario Brown, 18, Madison, for strong-arm robbery, battery and a probation violation; Quincy Dixon, 18, Madison, for strong-arm robbery and resisting/obstructing; Rodney Bland, 19, for strong-arm robbery and being underaged in possession of alcohol; and Marcus Johnson, 18, Madison, for strong-arm robbery and obstruction.

The attempted mugging was reported by a 52-year-old Madison male, who had left the Princeton Club, 1726 Eagan Road, at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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"He was approached by four male subjects," Payne said. "The victim quickly got into his car, locked the door and called 911 when one suspect tried to open the door."

The mugging was reported by a 54-year-old Madison male, who was standing outside at 1754 Theirer Road, behind a Motel 6.

"This victim was approached by the same four male suspects involved in the earlier attack," Payne said. "This victim was struck several times and was battered and bloody when police arrived."