The Investigators: Protecting yourself at the pump - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: Protecting yourself at the pump

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: MPD) (Source: MPD)
(Source: MPD) (Source: MPD)

Filling up at the best price should be the only thing you have to worry about at the pump.

Unfortunately, a recent crime trend is making that more difficult for Mid-Southerners.

A customer at a Winchester gas station was robbed in broad daylight.

Surveillance video shows two men force the victim inside to withdraw money from an ATM while another man steals the rims off of the victim's car.

This incident is becoming all too common in Memphis-- with similar reported crimes in Parkway Village, Midtown, Cordova, and Fairlawn.

Stopping at a gas station shouldn't be something that inspires fear.

That's why WMC Action News 5 teamed up with a security expert to show you ways to take control of your own safety.

"Get to know where are the surveillance cameras," security expert Robby Beard said. "'Am I parked where I can be seen by the surveillance cameras?'"

Safety expert Robby Beard said the victim made the right move by giving the robbers what they wanted once they approached him.

"We're going to let them take what they want to take unless we have our kids in the car or something of extreme value," Beard explained.

However, Beard said there are steps you can take to prevent being ambushed at the pump in the first place.

"As soon as you pull up, I recommend trying to get somewhere closer to the building if that is an option," Beard said. "The more lights, the better, so we want to have a well-lit station and access to the people coming in and out. Most criminals don't like attention, so we want to be close to the attention, so to speak."

If the gas station you're going to isn't well it, or you can't pump close to the building, Beard said your safest bet is to just keep going.

Once you're at the station, if you're approached or attacked at the pump or in the parking lot, and you need to fight back, Beard suggests using anything around you as a weapon, including your car door and the fuel pump.

"If you're already in the process of pumping and somebody comes up on you, you just pull this up and now you have this as your weapon, especially if it's fueled up and fuel is coming," Beard explained.

More ways you can stay safe include:

  • Keeping your doors locked
  • Turning off your car
  • Using the panic button on your keyring if you feel uncomfortable
  • Never giving into panhandlers

"Never offer anybody money, because in order to do that you have to pull out your wallet and they see what you have and you have to pull out your purse," Beard said. "It's better just to say, 'I'm on credit card today, and I don't have any money for you.'"

Beard said, ultimately, what you see and remember is your best defense.

"How tall are they? What are they driving? What direction did they leave the scene in?" Beard explained. "All this type of information you can gather so when we do have the police come in, you can give them some valuable information. If you have a phone, take out your phone as they are leaving, but just learn to be a good witness."

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