“Bank jugging” is a crime trend originally from Houston but has made its way to central Texas. Thieves wait and watch bank customers from their cars, follow them to their next stop and when the victim has left their car unattended they steal what money is left inside.
Cedar Park Police Detective Marie Reinarz said their department has seen an increase in cases.
"They pick a bank based on the number of customers coming in and out of that bank," Reinarz said. "We are trying to get the offenders before they commit the offense and it's really hard to do. We have to guess what bank they are sitting at and we have to guess is that a vehicle they might be in."
CPPD is working on an aggravated robbery case involving bank jugging. The department shared a sketch of a man accused of attacking a veteran he followed from Chase Bank. The suspect stole $500 from the man.
"The reason I think he did that was they probably saw him motioning that he was putting the money in his pocket rather than inside the vehicle," Reinarz said.
Catching a bank jugger is no easy task, Reinarz said most come from Houston and have replaceable plates.
Reinarz said cases often get labeled as car burglaries because people don’t realize they were being followed beforehand. Reinarz explains thieves look for crimes of opportunity. Once caught bank jugger’s would be accused of auto theft a class A misdemeanor instead of a second degree felony.
CCPD advises people to be aware of their surroundings, don’t leave valuables in cars and to be a good witness. Reinarz is asking witnesses to call as they see the crime happening instead of writing down a license plate.
"Ultimately if our citizens are aware and don't allow for any types of opportunities for offenders. I think we can get this out of Cedar Park," Reinarz said.