Dallas police are investigating yet another frightening case of someone sneaking into an unlocked car outside of a Walgreens store, hiding in the back seat and then forcing the victim to drive to ATMs and withdraw money.
Police are not definitively linking the two carjacking robberies that occurred within two weeks of each other, but the incidents are remarkably similar.
In both cases, the victims had left their car doors unlocked. Both also were forced to drive to ATMs and withdraw money until they reached their daily limit. Neither victim was able to get a good description of the suspect because he was wearing a ski mask.
Police said the second victim was shopping at the Walgreens store at 5001 Ross Ave. in East Dallas at about 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
He left his vehicle unlocked. When he returned, “he noticed the suspect kneeling down behind him the back seat,” said Deputy Chief Tom Castro. “The suspect grabbed him from behind and forced him at gunpoint to drive two banks” and withdraw money.
He then forced him to drive to two other ATMs, but he couldn’t withdraw money because he had reached his daily limit, Castro said.
According to police, the suspect made the victim drive to his residence before eventually stealing the car. The victim was not injured.
The victim’s car was recovered Monday night outside Wichita, Kansas, after a brief police chase. A 17-year-old was taken into custody. His name is not being released because he is considered a juvenile under Kansas law.
He is facing charges in Kansas. Dallas police do not yet have enough evidence to charge him in either carjacking.
A nearly identical carjacking happened at another Walgreens, just a few miles away on Jan. 20. Shortly after midnight, a woman left her home to go to a neighborhood Walgreens in the 5700 block of E. Mockingbird Lane. The young mom of twins, with her husband on parenting duty at home, had made a midnight run to Walgreens.
He demanded she withdraw $500 as if he knew what the ATM limit would be. Then he demanded that she drive to the next closest ATM, where he demanded she withdraw $500 more. After that, fraud protections and ATM withdrawal limits would not allow her to take out any more.
The woman who spoke to WFAA said the incident lasted about 15 minutes. He made her drive around until he demanded to be let out near the corner of Greenville and Monticello avenues. She drove home, unhurt, to alert her husband and to call 911.
On Tuesday, police released a video that showed the suspect getting opening the victim’s unlocked back door and getting inside, just moments before she returned to the car.
Police said he was in the parking lot for about 27 minutes lifting door handles and trying to get into parked cars. Castro said if people see that type of suspicious behavior, they should contact the police.
Authorities were unable to get any surveillance video from any of the ATMs that would help in the investigation because the ATMs only show the driver.
The latest incident rattled patrons of the busy Walgreens on Ross.
“It’s scary,” said patron Sua Torres. “You should always lock your car doors and when you get into your car, always check the back seat. That’s what we always do.”
If anyone has any information about this incident please contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 214-671-3584.