HOUSTON — This violent video is difficult to watch, but Houston police are hoping to catch a criminal accused of following a woman from the bank to steal her purse at The Galleria mall.
Police and Houston Crime Stoppers said the crime happened Thursday, Oct. 17 at about 2 p.m.
The victim drove to the Bank of America, located at 5171 San Felipe, and withdrew money from the ATM. She then drove to the Saks Fifth Avenue at The Galleria, located at 5175 Westheimer.
Video shows that as the woman exited her vehicle from the parking garage and walked to the escalators, a man approached from behind and grabbed her purse, which was strapped to the woman. The victim told police she was “suddenly jolted back” and fell down the escalators.
The robber dragged the woman to the doors leading out to the garage where she eventually let go of her purse. The suspect then got into a burgundy-colored four-door Buick and fled the scene, according to police.
Robberies like this one put a spotlight on what can happen in an instant.
Karisa Gallucci is a shopper.
She said, “I don’t know that she could have avoided what happened to her.”
Gallucci and her friend, Catherine Ross, said it’s a crime that can happen anywhere.
“I think I try to look around and be aware. Just try to be aware people around you. I get in my car, lock the doors immediately. It’s little bitty things,” Gallucci said.
Also, Ross said, “I always try to make sure there’s nobody around me when I’m going to my car and I don’t use my cell phone. I keep it in my purse.”
Gallucci added, “I carry my bag tight, tight, tight.”
Here are some things you can do to stay safe.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid shopping with designer bags.
- Use credit cards as much as police.
- Carry valuables in your front pocket when out in public.
Ross said, “I very rarely carry this except when I’m with friends. I carry a little body bag and very little cash.”
In a statement the Galleria said:
“At The Galleria, we are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our shoppers, retailers and employees, especially during the upcoming holiday season. We have a highly skilled and experienced security team and a number of proactive security measures in place, both seen and unseen, including maintaining continuous security patrol of our property and parking lots. We also maintain a close working relationship with local law enforcement authorities to ensure that the appropriate security measures are being taken to help provide and maintain a safe environment at our property. We look forward to continuing to be a shopping destination of choice for the Greater Houston area.”
Gallucci said putting the phone down in situations like this could also help you avoid becoming a victim.
“It’s just not safe,” she exclaimed. “You’re not aware of anything around you: cars, other people. It’s just dangerous so I do not think you should walk with your cell phone. Absolutely not.”
Police described the suspect as a black male, 20 to 30 years old, about six feet tall, thin build, wearing a white hoodie and blue jeans.
Crime Stoppers may pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect in this case. Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org.
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