Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bump and Rob Again...

Some readers will no doubt remember the bump and rob attacks that plagued Florida back in the late eighties, early nineties. For those of you who don't know, the bad guys would rear end people in rental cars (which could be identified by stickers) and, when the victim got out to survey the damage, they'd be held up and robbed.

It culminated in one German tourist woman being killed when the bad guys drove away and ran over her in the process. As an aside the effect on the tourist industry was so great that the authorities went all out, caught the team doing it and banged them away for a long time.

Here in Charlotte, early Monday morning, we had two incidents using the same tactic. The perpetrator ran into a car and, when the driver got out, he held her at gun point and forced her to drive to an ATM. When he was unsuccessful getting any money he raped the woman and fondled her passenger.

A couple of hours later he struck again and robbed another woman under the same circumstances. Law enforcement believe it's possible he followed them from nightclubs.

Channel 14 news here in Charlotte contacted me and we did a piece covering some advice for women in that situation. For those of you who missed it, the advice is as follows (and, incidentally, it's the same procedure for a Blue Light Bandit)...

1. Assess what just happened. Is the accident likely? In other words it's hard to stage an accident and make it look real. If there's stuff going on nearby that an inattentive driver might be looking at it when he rear ends you then it could be plausible. If the roads are icy, it could be plausible. If the roads are dry, there's not much traffic and it happens then that should make you wonder.

2. Check your doors are locked and windows up.

3. Put your hazard lights on and drive to your nearest 24 hour safe haven. (We've talked about this in a previous blog but they're locations where someone is in attendance 24/7 such as hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores, manufacturing plants, police and fire stations etc.)

4. While en route call 911 and let them know what happened and what you're doing. Let them know you're a lone female, you're not comfortable dealing with the situation on your own and your intention is to drive to somewhere where there are lights and people.

I'm not going to sugar coat's still a tough situation to be in. What are you going to do for example if, while you're figuring out what just happened, the bad guy appears at your window with his gun in hand. I know of one girl, a friend of my ex, who was in that situation and she drove away and nothing happened. A few weeks ago in Charlotte a woman did the same and the bad guy opened fire on the car.

My advice is (and that means this is what I would do in that situation) is head down and floor it. Every second you're putting distance between you and the bad guy and handguns are notoriously inaccurate. They also don't have the penetration Hollywood would have you believe. Many police officers have discovered that rounds will bounce off a windshield for example and I've been on a body guard course where we shot an old car up with various rounds to see what would happen and a .380 would even penetrate the door skin.

Finally, if you do decide to comply, we're back to the old "leaving crime scene 1 for crime scene 2" which we all know is absolutely taboo.

PS: They haven't caught the guy yet so be on your guard.

1 comment:

Stick Fighter Journey said...

Good advice as ever, Nick. Reminds me of our instructions should we accidentally hit one of the local land owners when out on exercise with the Australian Army. The local indigenous people had a habit of sleeping on the roads or throwing up roadblocks and demanding beer or money from travellers. If we hit one we were to keep going until we got to the next police station, then report it. If we stopped to check the casualty the cops would likely have more than one body to take care of. Callous but reality. I hope these mongrels are caught soon.
Perry Gamsby, Sydney