Police warn about robberies of bankgoers in Burbank

A woman uses an ATM.
Police are warning about a surge in “bank jugging,” in which robbers follow a bank customer who’s just withdrawn cash.
(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

An increase in “bank jugging” robberies has prompted law enforcement officials to release safety tips on how to avoid being a victim.

At least a dozen or so “bank jugging” robberies have taken place the past year in Burbank, according to Burbank Police Department Lt. Derek Green. Although such robberies have been a problem in the city for the past three to five years, there’s been a significant increase in the last two years.

In “bank jugging,” robbers typically wait for their victims in bank parking lots, follow them to their next destination and break into their cars, Green said. People who leave envelopes filled with cash in their cars find out later that they’ve been robbed, he said.

Other times, criminals will follow their targets to another location, perhaps when the victims are running another errand, and will rob them at gunpoint, according to Green.

An example of such a crime took place Sept. 15 when Burbank police responded to a report of a car break-in. A person had withdrawn money from a bank and left the money in the car with the door unlocked, according to a police news release. The money had been stolen when the person returned to the car.

The next day, another robbery was reported near the intersection of Burbank Boulevard and Ontario Street, in which a person was robbed in an alley after withdrawing money from a nearby bank. The victim told police that two men punched and kicked him until he dropped the money he was holding. The men grabbed the money and drove away.

The two robberies were likely committed by the same people driving the same car, according to surveillance video from both incidents, police said.

Three suspects were arrested last week after Burbank police detectives saw them break into a parked car in Garden Grove, according to a police news release. Two of the men were identified as suspects in previous crimes in that city.

Green said he believes the suspects were responsible for more incidents in neighboring cities and that there is an active investigation looking for more potential victims.

“Always be aware of your surroundings,” Green said. “If you’re going to go into a bank to withdraw a lot of money, conceal that money when you leave. Don’t be walking out with an envelope, and we also suggest not running other errands between the bank and your place of safety. We absolutely discourage leaving a large amount of cash in your car.”