I was watching the news on the “Doom and Gloom” channel last night. A 70-year-old woman went to the bank, got some funds and returned to the auto body shop she owned. She was jumped in front of the business and the money was grabbed by a young woman who then fled to a car that may have had two male occupants. (Here’s the story that ran on ajc.com.)
The victim suffered a couple of cracked ribs. The crime was right in front of the business and in front of an employee or two.
It was an interesting report and highlights a couple of things to me:
When you think of a robbery suspect, almost all of us think of some ugly dude, maybe wearing a mask and holding a gun or knife. Furthermore, a fair percentage of us stereotype them with bad oral hygiene and perhaps body odor— but that part isn’t important. The video from the bank shows this robber was a female, blonde and young. That probably wasn’t on the top of your suspect list was it?
She actually followed the victim into the bank, and then back out, allowing herself to be recorded on camera. That wasn’t the smartest move on her part, but when she’s caught, we’ll thank her. (No blonde jokes.)
The younger woman followed the victim to the business and then did a robbery-snatch right in front of the shop. Not the ideal location for a robbery — but she did catch the victim by surprise and did get the money.
The robbery itself was sloppy enough that investigators have a great chance of identifying the suspect by the bank photos, which are much better than the TV images. From that the cops will probably identify the others in the car. Whether you like us or not, our detectives are good at what they do.
This is a good study in crime prevention because, to an extent, the robber went against the grain, catching the victim by surprise.
What you can do to prevent becoming a victim
If you are a store owner, manager or employee who is in charge of moving money to the bank, do yourself a favor and sit down with a cup of coffee or “I’ll have a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot (two shots decaf, two shots regular) latte with whip” – whatever — and commit the following to memory:
This is reality. Believe it. Now here are some options:
Essentially, just move your habits and patterns around enough not to create an opportunity for someone to follow you. In the past years, we have seen robberies where the restaurant or store owner, instead of making the bank drop, came home with anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 and found too late they were followed, set up and robbed. Unfortunately, good crime prevention doesn’t yield any immediate gratification because you never really know, in most cases, that you deterred someone from robbing you. This means you need to be diligent in sticking with a plan.
It’s not like you have to create a Delta Force Ops plan to take money to the bank. Of course, you can and, by the way, it’s fun, too. The bank tellers do freak out sometimes when you show up at the drive-through dressed as a shrub, but it’s all part of the fun!
Late-night deposits? Call the cops first. It’s not unusual for the beat car to get a request to be in the area while the store owner or employee makes a quick run to the bank.
Or, one word: Rottweiler.