The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, especially when leaving the bank.
Law enforcement on the Treasure Coast made two arrests for bank jugging. Bank jugging is when criminals watch people leaving a bank with what appears to be a significant amount of money.
The crooks then follow that individual to their next location, and break into their vehicle when theres an opportunity.
On Saturday, deputies said two crooks watched someone leave the Wells Fargo branch at Salerno Road and US-1 in Martin County, then drove to a nearby gas station.
Surveillance video showed what happened next. In the time the driver had gone into the store, someone else got into that vehicle and took several hundred dollars.
Theyll follow that car until it stops. When the driver gets out, theyll reach into the car, break the window. Do whatever they have to do to get the money, Sheriff William Snyder said.
Snyder said in the past week, theyve had two incidents, both allegedly committed by the same couple.
In the second case, the victim was in St. Lucie County, but the crooks made a mistake, grabbing the wrong bag and actually didnt get the cash.
What they did get was an encounter with law enforcement as the Martin County Sheriffs Office had eyes on the suspected thieves from Miami-Dade County.
The sheriff said a task force has been set up among local law enforcement agencies to combat a rise in this type of crime.
We can not operate against these traveling criminals, against these hardened predators without the inter-agency cooperation that we enjoy,” Snyder said.
The sheriff said dozens of these criminals move out into the communities every day looking for someone who may be carrying cash out of the bank.
Dont come out of the bank counting money, dont make it obvious,” Snyder said. “Be very careful when you come out of the bank, just be cautious and look in the rearview mirror.
Outside her bank branch, Louise Stalter said shes heard of this type of crime, and does her part to stay safe.
I dont count the money at the ATM,” Stalter said. “I wait until I get in may car, and then I look around.
The sheriff is reminding everyone that if you feel youre being followed, just call 911.
Omar Cofield, 33, and Cheyenne Moore, 24, both of Miami, face numerous charges.