FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Contact: Rob Tufano, CMPD Public Affairs Office
University City Division officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have arrested Nicolaus Anthony Gibbs, DOB: 02/05/1991, for his involvement in a series of property theft cases that targeted distracted shoppers.
On December 2, 2013, officers were dispatched to a reported larceny call for service in the parking lot of the Harris Teeter located at 2201 WT Harris Blvd. Once officers arrived on the scene they met with the victim who told them that she was walking back to her car after shopping and placed her purse on the front passenger seat. As she was sitting there, the suspect opened her passenger front door and grabbed her purse off the seat. She attempted to grab the purse back and the purse fell to the ground spilling the contents out. The suspect picked up the wallet with the cash and got back into his vehicle before driving away.
The suspect’s vehicle description was broadcast to officers in the field. A short time later the vehicle was observed and officers conducted a car stop detaining the suspect. Information and evidence gathered during the investigation implicated Nicolaus Anthony Gibbs as the suspect involved in the earlier larceny. Officers also recovered the victims stolen property in the suspect’s possession.
During the course of the investigation it was also determined that the suspect was responsible for several other similar larceny cases. It was determined in investigating these cases that the suspect would observe shoppers exit stores, follow them back to their vehicles and grab their unattended property while they were distracted putting other items away.
The two types of crimes occurring most frequently in parking facilities are thefts and crimes against persons. While these dangers can never be totally eliminated the opportunity for such crimes can be significantly reduced by developing good security habits.
Here are a few tips about safety in parking lots and parking garages:
· Hide or remove your valuables when leaving your car.
· Park close to your destination, even if it means waiting for a space to become free.
· At night, try to park under a street light.
· Leave your engine running until you've gathered everything and you're ready to get out of the car. Check your surroundings to make sure its safe before you get out of the car.
· When possible, back into parking spaces, it's a good way to park, because it means you can leave quickly if needed.
· When you're walking back to your car, keep your keys in hand, so you can get into the car quickly or use them as a weapon.
· Always take the most brightly lit path to and from your car.
· As you approach your vehicle, check the front and back seats to make sure no one is hiding inside.
· Place your purse/handbag in the floor of the vehicle, instead of the seat, before emptying your shopping cart. Do not be a distracted shopper.
· After loading your vehicle, merchandise or children, lock your doors once you get inside the car before starting the engine.
· If someone suspicious approaches you, honk your horn and flash the lights to draw attention.
· Trust your instinct, if you sense danger when you are parking or coming back to your car, leave the area until you're sure it is secure.
· Ask security to walk you to your car if you feel you are not safe.
· Get in the habit of rolling up your car windows and locking your car doors.