For the second time in two days, there was an attempted robbery at the Wells Fargo ATM located at 5120 Laguna Blvd.
The incident last night occurred around 9:45 pm. The victim was using the ATM when they were approached by the suspect who, according to police, appeared to be holding a gun. The victim attempted to withdraw money but was unable to do so. The suspect then took the victim’s phone and fled the scene. The suspect was described as an African American male, wearing a black or gray hooded sweatshirt.
On Tuesday night there was an attempted robbery at the same ATM. In that incident, the suspect was believed to be a Hispanic male.
When using an ATM, the public is urged to take precautions
Who Else Is Around?
As you approach an ATM, pay attention to your surroundings. Who else is in the area, and what are they up to? Thieves may be lingering nearby to watch you enter your PIN, or they might want to see how much cash you get (and whether or not it’s worth trying to rob you). Be wary of anybody who offers to help you use a “finicky” or malfunctioning ATM – it’s more likely that they’re helping themselves to your money. If you feel uncomfortable about anybody in the area, use a different ATM.
Look Before You Use
Take a look at the ATM before you insert your card. Look for equipment or damage that might suggest that the ATM has been tampered with. Thieves can install card-readers, hidden cameras, and keypad readers (for stealing your PIN) on ATMs – and sometimes they’re difficult to see. You can even give the equipment a little “jiggle” or bump to see if it moves easily, but don’t damage the equipment. Again, if you’re suspicious, find a different ATM.
Have Your Card Ready
ATM withdrawals are best done as in-and-out transactions. Anybody behind you in line will appreciate efficiency. More importantly, you don’t want to hang around in front of an ATM fumbling for a card. Plan so that you at least know where everything is. When you dig through your wallet or purse, you’re less aware of your surroundings, which can create opportunities for thieves.
If you’re withdrawing money at a drive-through, pull your car up as close as possible to the machine. It allows you to conduct business through your window (without opening your door and getting out of the vehicle, which makes you more vulnerable to thieves and carjacking). Lock your doors, and close any windows that don’t need to be open until you’re back in motion.
Put the Cash Away
After you get your cash, get the money out of sight as quickly as possible. Temptation grows when thieves can see exactly what is available to them.
Use the Buddy System
If you’re concerned about getting cash alone, bring somebody with you. They can serve as an extra set of eyes, and thieves will be less interested in taking on multiple people.