Here is a carjacking and abduction caught on a security camera located at a drive-in ATM in Arlington, TX. We thought it would be useful to break down the events as they took place to see if there were any measures the victim could have taken to either prevent the crime or to escape. This is timely, because we posted an article titled Carjacking and Concealed Carry yesterday. After watching the video, I came up with the observations below. If you have any other suggestions or a different take on the situation, please comment below. The security camera footage is of excellent quality and gives us an opportunity to analyze the situation and plan accordingly.
Situational Awareness is Key
It is 3:30 am on a Wednesday. We see a female, alone, driving up to an ATM. At 0:48, we see her stop and prepare to put her card into the ATM.
It is very late, dark, and the female driver is alone. This is a high risk scenario. The driver should be on high alert, since she will be withdrawing cash.
At 0:56, the driver finishes typing in the PIN, then turns and looks for something in her purse, which is on the seat beside her. The reporter says that 1′ 15″ went by. At 1:02, we see a male subject approaching the car from the rear on the driver’s side. His right hand is in his pocket. The driver is looking forward and downward, presumably at something in her hands. The male subject moves to his left, behind the ATM where he cannot be seen by the driver. At 1:06, we see the male preparing to cross over into the space between the ATM and the vehicle.
There are many problems here. The female driver should have recognized the high risk environment and stopped her car as close to the ATM as possible. This is good practice even in broad daylight. You don’t have to reach out of the window, and there is not enough space for an assailant to stand opposite the window to confront you. Also, once you begin to withdraw cash at an ATM, get the transaction completed and leave, especially after dark. Not only did the female interrupt the transaction to look in her purse, but she remained at the ATM for over one minute, which is a very long time.
There is some likelihood that the female could have seen the male approaching the car if she had glanced in the side mirror or rear view mirror at exactly 1:02. At that point, she could have simply driven off without delay. Why prepare for a potentially deadly confrontation when you can just leave? Missing the approaching subject could have happened even if the female was alert. Being distracted just made the situation worse for her.
At 1:09, the male subject has come around the ATM and is in full view of the female. He is checking his phone, which is held in his left hand. The male then glances to his right and at 1:13, points a gun at the female, who appears to have her left hand behind her head and her elbow out the open window. The gun appears to be a short barrel revolver.
Another opportunity lost due to lack of alertness. At 1:09, the male was in full view of the driver. This situation screams, “Hit the gas, burn rubber, get the hell out of there!” The driver does nothing, and four seconds later, is looking at the wrong end of a gun.
At 1:19, we see the female getting out of the car. The male is still pointing his gun at her. By 1:27, the female is being locked in the trunk of her own car. At 1:30, the police officer says that she did the right thing by complying with the subject when he ordered her into the trunk.
The situation has gone from bad to worse in 18 seconds. At 1:13 the gun came out. The driver has no really good options at this point. She could have ducked and hit the gas, but at the risk of being shot in the face. When the perp orders her into the trunk, the situation has reached a desperate level. The only options left are to comply or fight. By exiting her vehicle, the female gave up the option of fleeing the scene. I respectfully disagree with the police officer. In my world, compliance is not an option. The perp could have then taken the victim to an isolated area, then raped and killed her. The only option left is to try to deflect the gun with her left hand, then simultaneously deliver a strike with all her strength to the eye, throat, side of the neck or under the chin. If the female had anything in her right hand, such as keys, a pen, a knife, comb or flashlight, this could be a lethal move. After striking, run like hell! As it was, she handed over total control to the perp, potentially surrendering her life.
The perpetrator then drove off with the female in the trunk, then forced her to withdraw cash from other ATMs. She eventually escaped when the car was stopped by using the emergency latch inside the trunk.
Although we do not know what happened between the time the driver was abducted and she escaped, it appeared that she had additional opportunities to either escape or engage the perpetrator. If she had a concealed firearm, she could have shot the perp the first time he opened the trunk to force her to withdraw cash from another ATM.
There are many lessons here. The most important; BE ALERT AT ALL TIMES. This was a preventable crime and the victim was extremely lucky that all she lost was some money. We may carry our sidearms with us daily, but our most effective weapon is between our ears.
What do you think the lady should have done? What would you have done? Please comment below for the benefit of us all.