Frightening video footage reveals the moment a robber breaks into a woman’s car to steal bags of cash after following her for several miles from a nearby Wells Fargo Bank in Texas where she had made a withdrawal.
Authorities in central Texas have released the clip to raise awareness of a lucrative crime known as ‘bank jugging’ – where thieves mark out their victims at ATMs or retail stores before stalking their car and waiting for them to leave it unattended.
It comes as figures obtained by local site Axios reveal that incidents of jugging in Austin, Texas, have more than tripled in a year.
A criminal in a grey hooded top, pictured, is seen creeping out of his Toyota before smashing through the windows of the victim’s car after she had stopped off at a Goodwill store
The clip begins with a man in a grey hooded top and jeans creeping out of a black Toyota vehicle and approaching the victim’s car parked next to him.
He quickly punches through the glass window – seemingly with just his hands – and retrieves two bags, throwing them back into his own car.
The crime, which happened in November, is over within five seconds.
Reports of bank jugging have steadily been on the rise across America for years.
Some incidents can be extremely violent with criminals attacking their victim rather than waiting for them to vacate the car.
Horrifying footage released in 2018 shows one man being beaten to the ground by thugs who followed him home in Houston.
Crooks typically watch for customers who have just visited ATMs or are leaving high-end stores, and often target elderly victims.
Footage shows the crime, which happened in November, is over within five seconds
The robber can be seen retrieving two bags from his victim and transferring them into his own car
In Austin alone figures show incidents of the crime been on the rise for five years, more than tripling from 46 in 2021 to 140 in 2022.
And in New York City, banks have warned this week they are struggling to cope with a wave of ‘crime and vacancy’ running rampant around their branches and ATMs.
Chase Bank announced it was closing some of its ATMs early at 5pm, while other banks have hired security guards at their city center branches.
Incidents of bank jugging have been on the rise for the last five years in Austin, Texas
The latest video was released by the Round Rock Police Department which said the victim had just made a cash withdrawal at the local Wells Fargo Bank.
On her way home, she stopped at a Goodwill store which is when the robber made his move.
In a Facebook post, the Round Rock Police Department wrote: ‘Bank Jugging: Silly name. Serious Crime.
‘On Nov. 19, 2022, the victim made a withdrawal at the Wells Fargo Bank located at 505 Round Rock Ave in Round Rock.
Why is it called bank jugging?
- Bank jugging refers to incidents where criminals stake out a victim at an ATM, bank or retail store, follow their car and wait for them to leave it unattended so they can steal their money or goods.
- The origin of the name is unclear though some speculate it is refers to a time when people would transport their money in jugs.
- Urban Dictionary defines ‘jugging’ as ‘making money’ or ‘stealing’
‘She then stopped at the Goodwill located at 17151 Smyers Lane in Round Rock. While the victim was inside Goodwill, her window was smashed in and her property was stolen.
‘Surveillance footage captured a Toyota Rav4 following the victim into the parking lot.’
The criminal’s vehicle did not have a license place but rather a placard with the words ‘SeeDriveSmile.com’.
The post was also shared by nearby Killeen Police Department, which said the same vehicle may have been involved in a similar incident in their county in December 2022.
Cops said the victim had withdrawn a ‘large sum of money’ from a local bank before driving to a restaurant, where the suspect broke the window of their truck and stole the cash.
Detectives added that they had received information that the same suspect vehicle was involved in two other burglaries in McClennan County.
When questioned about the rise in jugging incidents, Bellmead Police Department Lieutenant Andrew McGee told KWTX: ‘It can really happen in a matter of minutes.’
Sergeant Casey Sheppard, of the Temple Police Department, added: ‘We’ve had at least one case where an individual went into a gas station. Within the amount of time it took them to fill up their car and go inside the gas station, the money was taken.’
Anybody with information about the incident in the video or can identify the vehicle or the individuals is being urged to contact Detective Rocco Montorello at (512) 218-3292 or [email protected]
Anonymous tips can be submitted at WilcoCrimeTips.org