Crime risk may rise at rental machine kiosks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crime risk may rise at rental machine kiosks

(WMC-TV) Movie rentals machines are everywhere these days, but as they become more popular, so does the opportunity for criminal activity.

One movie rental turned in to a horror story as a customer was robbed at a Redbox movie kiosk.

All caught on camera - the thief snatched the purse of the victim and took her down in the process. She ran back inside the store to get help as he made his getaway.

Self defense expert Patrick Terry said movie rental machines appeal to criminals in the same way ATM machines do.

Thieves target distracted customers with a  purse or wallet exposed when at outside self-serve kiosks.

"You know you can be targeted anytime, anywhere. When you're about to do something that takes your full attention and you're out in public and there's no one else around - you want to try to reduce those vulnerabilities as much as possible," he said.

The man police say preyed on this vulnerable customer outside a Walgreens in December has been caught.

Memphis police said they haven't seen it happen here, but the crime has been reported in Tennessee and around the country.  

Many Redbox regulars might want to consider finding a rental kiosk located inside a store.  

"People are desperate these days," said Redbox regular customer Jeana Dunlap. "You kind of are a target especially if you go when there aren't a lot of people around."

Dunlap admits to looking over her shoulder when using the kiosk.

According to Redbox's response to safety concerns via email - a company spokesperson said they average 59 million transactions a month and only a small percentage result in crime.

The company said it works closely with stores to place the video rental kiosks in high traffic areas close to entrances with lots of light.  

Redbox encourages consumers to be aware of their surroundings at all times. So don't go alone, and stay off your cell phone.

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