Police in California are warning residents to be wary of a rash of “bank jugging” crimes.
“In this type of crime, suspects observe victims as they leave a bank, credit union, ATM, or check-cashing facility, visibly holding cash, and proceed to follow them to their next destination,” Fontana police said on Instagram
“Upon arriving, the criminals seize the chance to either burglarize the victim’s vehicle or commit robbery directly,” police said.
Police cite an “escalating” number of bank jugging incidents in the Southern California community.
In July, a customer left a Fontana bank with $1,060 in cash, police said. He drove to a nearby Walgreen’s and went inside.
While the customer was inside, thieves pulled up in a Toyota 4-Runner, broke into his vehicle and stole the cash, police said.
Bank jugging extends far beyond California. In August, the Orlando Police Department in Florida warned of a “major uptick” in cases in Orlando other central Florida cities. They also warn it takes the thieves only seconds to complete the robbery.
Police also offered safety tips to avoid becoming a bank jugging victim.
Be vigilant for people hanging around lobbies or parking lots of financial institutions.
Avoid distractions, such as using your phone or earphones, inside the bank.
Secure cash in a nondescript bag, briefcase or purse instead of a recognizable cash envelope.
Be sure all the doors to your vehicle are locked.
Be conscious of any vehicles tailing you from the bank. If you suspect you are being followed, call 911 immediately or head straight to the nearest police or fire station.