Although numbers vary, a conservative estimate is that video cameras capture the average person in America on video around 30-70 times a day. From a privacy standpoint, I'm not a fan of this, but that is a topic for another time. The proliferation of cameras means we see incidents we would not otherwise. Such is the case with this strong arm robbery of a man's car at a gas station in Bucks County, PA.
3 Men Coordinate to Commit Carjacking—
The video shows how 3 suspects coordinate to distract and assault a man who was pumping gas into his vehicle. A few things to note is that the attack takes place in broad daylight at a gas station in Bucks County PA at the corner of Bristol and 611.
Because the police caught the trio later, they've identified the suspects as a twenty-one-year-old, and two teenage males.
Here is what happened:
The victim is filling his vehicle at the gas station. He shuts off his vehicle and holds the keys with him, which is a good idea. We don't know if he locked the vehicle doors, but this is also a good idea. The victim seems to be relatively observant of his surroundings, but it's hard to tell if he was looking out with a discerning eye for criminal activity, or just looking around the area in general.
While pumping, the victim's attention is drawn away, and he doesn't notice a man walking along the sidewalk in his direction. Scanning the area is great, but if you're not paying attention to what you see, or don't know what you're looking for, it's not always helpful.
Suspect number one, uses the gas pumps to cover his movement and close the distance to the victim. Again, being observant means trying to get a full picture of your surroundings and likely involves moving locations so you can see the blind areas behind things and around corners. Had the victim moved around to the back or front of his vehicle, he might have seen suspect 1's movements.
The victim doesn't perceive the man (suspect #2) walking in his direction as a threat. He allows him to get way too close without repositioning and/or challenging him by engaging him in conversation. Now he's caught in between the two suspects.
Suspects one and two converge and quickly grab the victim around the neck. At this point, avoidance is probably off the table. The victim can choose to comply or resist. I'm surmising, but the suspects are likely demanding the car keys. It seems like he initially resists, but eventually is overwhelmed, or complies. This is a good point to consider what skills we possess to deal with an attacker. What are our unarmed and armed skills, and do we carry our tools on us all the time?
Criminals trying to stack the odds in their favor roll with a third accomplice. We see suspect #3 run into the picture and immediately assist on physically assaulting the victim. He also accidentally punches one of his accomplices in the arm.
The victim smartly throws his keys away from the vehicle, which causes one of them to break free to retrieve the keys. This is a great way to buy time, and give you a two on one fight, which is better than three on one.
Finally, when the suspects retrieve the keys, they stop assaulting him. The victim uses this opportunity to break free, crawl, and then run away.
Some More Backstory on this attack—
According to an NBC News 10 report, police arrested the three because of good eyewitnesses', suspect descriptions, timely calls to 911 and witness cooperation. The reason I mention this is that most of us reading this have a desire to help those who can't help themselves. While there are times physical intervention is necessary or appropriate, sometimes it isn't the best intervention. Sometimes being an excellent witness and calling the police is the best course of action. Knowing the difference between the two comes with thoughtful consideration of various incidents, understanding of our abilities and some discernment.
In that same news report, they spoke with another one of the trio's victims. The three suspects approached this victim named Gerald at a gas station not too far away from where this incident took place. The suspects seemed to try the same technique with Gerald, but he could escape without losing his vehicle. Gerald said that he recognizes that he could have ended up like the victim in this video had the suspects “gotten the jump on me like they did that guy”.
Awareness, Recognizing Danger—
This video, and similar past videos, give us great examples of the importance of recognizing danger as early as possible and reacting appropriately. If you want, you can see Gerald's interview in the video below. Long before I was a police officer, I was the victim of a carjacking by 3 armed suspects. I learned some lessons the hard way. Because of that experience and what i learned subsequently, I've written some content on the topic.
The articles provide some great strategies to avoid carjackings. However, using your firearm in and around a vehicle is a skill not too many people have practiced. Because of that, this online course called Vehicle Firearm Tactics might be of interest.