When someone walks into a bank or drives up to an ATM to make a cash withdrawal, they may not realize they could be in the crosshairs of a would-be robber.
What is referred to as “bank jugging” is on the rise in Southern California. The would-be robber waits until they see someone make a large cash withdrawal. They then follow that person to their next destination and rob them. This and other theft crimes spike during the holiday season.
Three Men Arrested for Bank Jugging
Three men were arrested on Dec. 6, 2022, for a bank-jugging incident in Thousand Oaks on Sept. 23. The men distracted the victim and stole $10,000 that she had just taken from her bank. They were arrested just before bank jugging another victim.
Bank Jugging Is Usually a Group Crime
Most bank jugging is not the work of a lone actor. One person may be waiting in a vehicle. A second person is inside the bank, posing as a customer. Sometimes a third person, a gunman, is also in the car. The individual inside the bank communicates with the person in the car about potential targets.
Once the fake bank customer confirms a target, the two people in the car follow the target to their next stop. The person with the gun gets out and robs the person of their cash while the driver remains poised for a quick getaway.
Bank Customers Are Not the Only Victims
A similar process also happens in shopping centers. Shoppers are frequent robbery subjects in November and December when people are buying armloads of gifts. The robber stakes out shopping center parking lots to identify people returning to their cars with gifts.
Sometimes there is a point person on the inside, watching for customers who buy luxury items. The point person communicates with the person waiting in the center’s parking lot. The robbers might follow the shopper home and rob them in their driveway. Thieves wanting to avoid a confrontation might follow their target to their next destination and steal the gifts or money from the parked car after the shopper goes inside.
Tips to Avoid Bank Jugging
There are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of bank jugging:
- Conceal bank deposit bags and envelopes as you enter and leave the bank.
- Making banking the last errand.
- Keep your cash with you when you arrive at your next destination. Do not leave money or gifts in your vehicle.
- Alert the manager if you think you are being followed in a store.
- Advise bank employees if you believe you are being watched.
- Check your surroundings and remain aware.
- Watch for occupied vehicles with no one getting out.
- Trust the gut instincts that tell you something feels wrong about the situation.
- Carry purses in a manner that they cannot be snatched easily.
- Lock your doors as soon as you are in the vehicle.
- If you think you are being followed, drive to a police station or call 911.
Bank jugging is not a California phenomenon. Incidents occur in communities throughout the U.S.
Proactive Legal Representation for the Accused
At Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC, we believe that sometimes the best defense is a strong offense. We want the public to know about crime issues that can impact them. Awareness is a key to prevention.
We also fiercely hold the right of every defendant to effective legal defense. Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, including time spent as prosecutors. We understand the system inside and out and from both sides.
If you are accused of theft or any other criminal offense, aggressively fight the charges with our help. Schedule a consultation by contacting us online or calling (949) 251-0330. We are available 24/7 to take your call.