Tuesday, December 16, 2003
What Would You Do: Holiday Muggers
It's a holiday tradition that falls somewhere between the grinch and bah-humbug. In fact, it happened just last Friday. A woman out shopping when somebody snatched her gifts. So what do you do if you're being stalked at the mall? Here's the Nightteam's Charles Perez with the answer.
(WSVN) -- For most of us ... it's the most wonderful time of the year ... finding the perfect gift.
But for others ... it's a chance to be the perfect Grinch.
But we're not talking about the cartoon Grinch ... We're talking about real common thieves ... preying on unsuspecting shoppers.
Robert Wilkins of Plantation Police demonstrates a simple robbery bysnatching away bags. "It's that simple, that quick, and we're gone," he says.
"Basically they're predators," he adds. "Opportunity predators. They're looking for easy targets: seniors or people that are over-burdened with a lot of packages."
Here's your Christmas shopper... What's wrong with this picture?
My producer ... a perfect example.
Look... her purse ... open, ready for taking.
Her arms ... filled with shopping bags, and it gets worse...
"She's distracted by talking on the cellphone," says Wilkins. "She shouldn't be doing that. She should be paying attention to the surroundings and people that are approaching her."
Because if she doesn't, she could pay the price.
"If I wanted to," Charles says, "I could actually even push her or shove her against the car - knock her down..."
At the very least .. she's loses her valuables ... But it can be worse.
"They just drive by, rip the purse right off, and, of course, it knocks the person to the ground..." says Wilkins.
Victims have been literally dragged screaming for their lives ... along the side of the car.
They're attached to the baggage, the guy inside the car's got it, and he's hittin' the gas...
"... and dragging the victim along with him," finishes Wilkins explains.
So, What Would You Do?
First ... Park as close as you can to the door.
If a stranger talks to you, make eye contact.
They could be looking for a victim.
When you leave the mall ... keep your bags and purse close in ... and away from passing cars.
Have your keys in your hand and ready when you reach your car ...
So what do you do if someone approaches you in the parking lot? Rule number one: use what you have.
Like your car window ... It can be a mirror to see if anyone is approaching.
If you see someone, you have time to turn around and go back into the mall.
And if it's too late ... Your best bet is to just let them take your items.
"The best way is to just get away," says Wilkins. "All that is material items that can be replaced."
"Even your purse?" asks Charles.
"Even your purse."
Next week, what do you do if you're robbed at the ATM?
Charles will give us the scoop from the experts -- that's next Tuesday at ten.
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