Jugging thief steals $10K from Austin contractor couple

The victim of a recent jugging crime in Austin is speaking out after a thief stole $10,000 from the victim's car on Thursday, April 13.

The shattered glass in Jacob Gargan’s SUV is all that remains of what was a big pay day.

"It was just loss. At that point, I had no emotion anymore," said Gargan.

Gargan and his fiancé, Destiny Campolito, recently purchased the vehicle. The damage is bad, but it's what was lost that has them sick.

"I think I about puked four times. Then my gut feeling was like, how could people be like this," said Campolito.

Campolito and Gargan are home remolding contractors. On April 13, they went to a bank near Parmer Lane and I-35 to cash a client's $10,000 check for a job they just completed. 

To celebrate, they decided to make a fast food stop for lunch, instead of depositing the cash first in their bank. While inside eating, a thief, who had followed them from the bank, made fast work of the cash. The crime is call jugging. 

Jugging is when a thief follows a person from a bank or a store, and robs them at the first opportunity they get.

"They hit it three times right here, since they couldn't succeed on that. They started moving to the back window. They smashed this in, and unlocked it right there," said Gargan. 

The center console is where Jacob hid the money. He never felt like he was being followed.

"No. That's the problem. I am always aware of that, too," said Gargan.

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Jacob's SUV was in the fast food parking lot for 10 minutes. That was more than enough time to be victims of a $10,000 hit-and-run jugging theft.

"We work really hard to make this money, You know, like, we don't just sit around. We work really hard, like day in, day out. We don't take days off to make this kind of money," said Campolito.

The money was to help pay off some of the labor they hired and was to help their business move forward.

"Just basically getting our head start back. You know it's some people go through unfortunate circumstances, and we got put in that situation before and this job was finally clearing up all of that situation. And the first moment we feel free from all of that stress and weight on our back, this happens," said Gragan. 

Jugging cases can become extremely violent, with some incidents becoming home invasions. 

Last year in Austin, there were 153 jugging cases. So far in 2023, APD has 51 cases. APD Chief Joseph Chacon said he hopes increased patrols will help address the problem.

"Certainly. I think that, you know, first, when it comes to jugging, it's really about education and making sure that people understand that this is happening so that they can be on the lookout, and they can hopefully take measures that would make it as hard as possible for that crime to occur," said Chacon.

Video from a recent Round Rock jugging shows how fast these smash and grabs can be. The individuals remain at large and may be linked to similar cases in Bell County.

Jugging victim Gargan is now offering simple advice.

"If you feel, even your intuition telling you to not do something, just don't do it. You know what I mean? Because something like this could happen," said Gargan.

If you have any information about the April 13 theft, or the Round Rock case, you are asked to contact local authorities.

"And so I just don't understand how there's people like that out there, that can like, feel okay with themselves at the end of the day," said Campolito.

The couple has launched a GoFundMe page to help recover what was lost