October 2, 2015
Police warn against complacency in ‘bank jugging’
MURPHY (October 2, 2015) While the name of the crime, bank jugging, may be ambiguous, the intent of the criminal is unmistakable, says Murphy Police Chief Arthur Cotten.
“We suspect the term is a variation of the word ‘mugging,’ but whatever it’s called, Murphy residents must be aware of its consequences,” he said. “As in most crimes of this nature, being vigilant, careful and observant is the best defense.”
Bank jugging is a term that describes the activity of suspects who loiter near banks or ATMs and watch customers go in and out of a bank or use the ATMs. These criminals then follow the individuals they believe are in possession of cash and wait for an opportunity to burglarize their vehicles or rob them directly.
Individuals carrying bank bags, bank envelopes and coin boxes are especially targeted. Often, the perpetrator will follow the individual by car, waiting for the victim to stop at a retail or commercial business and leave their vehicle. A BMV, burglary of motor vehicle, is then committed with the intent of stealing the cash.
“Depending on the circumstances, some juggers will actually commit a robbery of the individual,” said the Chief. “Mostly, though, it’s a crime of convenience and the perpetrators will choose the easier option of a BMV.”
The Murphy Police Department advises bank and ATM customers to be mindful of this practice and to be aware of the following tell-tale signs of potential jugging:
• Occupied vehicles backed into parking spaces with a clear view of the front doors of the bank, ATM or commercial drive thru line;
• Vehicles arriving at the bank with no occupants entering the bank;
• Vehicles changing parking spaces;
• Vehicles with dark tinted windows with little or no visibility of the occupants; and
• Vehicles with multiple occupants.
Police further advise customers to be constantly aware of surroundings, and securely conceal cash before leaving the bank or ATM. Bank bags, bank envelopes or coin boxes should never be plainly visible, but should be placed in a purse, pocket, briefcase or other bag or satchel.
“Be aware of anyone following you from the area of a bank, either by car or on foot,” he added. “If you suspect that you are being targeted, call 911 from your cell phone.” When on the line with the 9-1-1 dispatcher, keep them informed of your location, the direction you are traveling, and stay on busy streets until police are able to locate you.
Refrain from leaving a bank bag or bank envelope in your vehicle when you exit at your next destination, even if it’s your residence. “The best line of defense against bank jugging is awareness, vigilance and careful handling of cash,” concluded the Chief.