AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Police Department is seeking to raise awareness of bank jugging after a recent uptick in cases.
"Jugging" is when a criminal follows someone after they leave a bank, ATM or similar service with cash after making a withdrawal, then robs them at another location.
"There, they are approached, threatened with violence or assaulted while the suspect demands the money or aggressively takes the cash bag," the APD said in a press release. "This crime happens when cash bags are visible as the victim leaves the bank or ATM."
According to the APD, there have been at least 61 juggings from Jan. 1 through July 26, with an approximate loss of more than $500,000. The APD is working to identify possible trends, series and suspects.
"APD is also hopeful of gathering surveillance video collections from all financial institutions," police said. "This will give investigators faster access to surveillance video, which could lead to the identification of suspects. Remember, when frequenting these financial institutions, please be aware of your surroundings."
The APD wants to remind locals to be aware of their surroundings when making withdrawals, providing the following tips to avoid becoming a jugging victim:
- Take note of anyone that is hanging around in the lobby of the bank or parking lot that does not appear immediately occupied
- Try not to be distracted while in the financial institution: on your phone, wearing earbuds, etc.
- Notice any vehicles that may follow you out of the parking lot and make sure you are not being followed
- Before leaving the counter/ATM after receiving cash, secure it in a different bag (other than the small zipper cash bags or envelopes utilized), such as a briefcase or purse
- Lock your car doors when you get into your vehicle
- If you believe you are being followed from a financial institution for any length, please call 911 or drive to the nearest police station, fire/ems station.
- Speak with security at your bank to see if they can assist you with large withdrawals or if they have any safety suggestions when withdrawing a large amount of cash.
Anyone with more information about these types of incidents is asked to call the APD Robbery tip line at (512) 974-5092, Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS, or use the new Crime Stoppers App. You can also submit tips by downloading APD's mobile app, Austin PD, for free on iPhone and Android.
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