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Burbank police arrest three suspects in ‘bank jugging’ case in which victims are targeted

A hand sliding a plastic card into a metal slot
Burbank police arrest Texas men on suspicion of robbing people after they withdrew money from a bank.
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)
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Burbank police have arrested three men on suspicion of targeting and robbing people after they withdrew money from their banks in what authorities call “bank jugging,” a term used to describe criminals who stakeout potential victims in bank parking lots.

Investigators said on at least two occasions the victims were robbed shortly after they withdrew money from a bank, Burbank police said in a news release. In “bank jugging,” criminals typically wait for their victims in bank parking lots, follow them to their next destination and break into their cars, police said.

The first known robbery took place on Sept. 15 when Burbank police responded to a report of a car break-in. The victim had just withdrawn money from a nearby bank, police said. The victim left the money in the car with the door unlocked. When the individual returned, the car door was open and the money was gone.

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A man was robbed at gunpoint of $10,000 in cash outside a Wells Fargo branch in Sherman Oaks, police said.

The following day, police responded to a report of a robbery near Burbank Boulevard and Ontario Street. The victim was robbed while walking in an alley after withdrawing money from a nearby bank.

The victim told investigators that two men punched and kicked him until he fell to the ground and dropped the money he was holding, police said. The men took the money, got into a nearby vehicle and drove away.

Surveillance video from both incidents showed that the crimes were likely committed by the same people driving the same vehicle. Investigators were able to read the license plate number from the video, police said.

On Wednesday, Burbank police detectives watched three suspects break into a parked car in Garden Grove around 1:30 p.m., authorities said. The men were arrested and police identified two of the men as suspects in the previous crimes committed in Burbank.

Christopher Freeman, 24; Leanthony Thomas, 27; and Victor Gomez-Chapman, 31, were arrested and booked on suspicion of multiple felonies, police said. All three men are from Texas.

Freeman is being held on a $20,000 bond, Thomas is being held on a $100,000 bond and Gomez-Chapman bonded out, according to police.

Police are investigating to see if the men are linked to any other crimes in Burbank and surrounding areas.

On Friday, Thomas was charged with three felony counts of second-degree robbery, one count of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of petty theft, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. No other cases have been presented on Freeman and Gomez-Chapman, according to the D.A.'s office.


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