Waco police investigating burglary suspects targeting bank goers

Posted at 3:04 PM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 19:39:21-05

The Waco Police Department is investigating a string of incidents where suspects have been targeting bank goers.

Sgt. Patrick Swanton said there have been four reported cases of bank "jugging" in West Waco and one case in Woodway. The first one was reported in November. 

"Basically what it is, is a person goes into a bank and they withdraw a significant amount of money and they walk out," Swanton said. "The suspects in these cases pay attention, they're in the parking lot somewhere watching customers."

Swanton said the suspects then follow the person to their next step, whether it's a grocery store or their home.

"If the money is left in the car, they break in and steal these envelopes of money from our victims," Swanton said.

Swanton said they encountered this same problem about a year ago.

At that time, banks in downtown Waco were being targeted. Now the suspects are hitting larger banks in West Waco.

The banks that have been targeted so far are First National on Woodway Drive, Chase on New Road, Bank of America on Hewitt Drive and Wells Fargo off Highway 84.

"They're the bigger banks, not your smaller credit unions," Swanton said. "Part of the reason is probably that there's more customer traffic there. It's easier for the suspects to blend in and park in the parking lot."

Ernest Newton said he was targeted after he withdrew $9,800 from the Wells Fargo off Highway 84 on Wednesday.

When Newton was driving home, he realized he forgot a money order and stopped at a check cashing store on Valley Mills. 

He put the money inside his armrest and quickly ran inside.

"Within five minutes, I came back out and my window was busted," Newton said. "It was pretty rough, I just went to panic mode."

Newton believes he was followed by a white truck that was parked a few spots away from him at the bank.

"There were two gentlemen standing outside the truck when I went inside," Newton said. "I came back out and I saw them inside the truck. Then as I was driving, I remember looking in my mirror one time and seeing the same truck, but it was pretty far back and I didn't think anything of it."

Newton said he took out that cash to buy a new car. Now he's spending hundreds more to fix the damage caused by the burglars.

"I got my window fixed, now I have to get my door fixed because they broke that also," Newton said.

Newton doesn't expect to see his money again, but he hopes investigators can stop these people who keep trying their luck.

"It's pretty upsetting that someone would actually go ahead and do that," Newton said. "It's just ridiculous. I mean, people need to go out and get a job."

Swanton said detectives have been assigned to each case and are currently investigating. They do believe all of the cases are intertwined. 

He added that the total amount of money stolen in these cases is around $20,000.

"At some point, these suspects are going to slip up and make a mistake," Swanton said. 

Swanton is urging the urging to the community to look out for each other and use common sense when they withdraw money.

"If you make a cash transaction, hide that money before you exit the bank," Swanton said. "Be aware of your surroundings."

He also believes the suspects are using rental cars or stolen cars to commit these crimes. 

He said if you notice anything suspicious going on in your bank parking lot, notify bank employees and call the police. 

Jugging is also a common crime in Dallas and Houston.

Copyright 2019 KXXV. All rights reserved.