'Be aware': Houston police create city-wide task force as 'juggings' continue to rise

Jessica Willey Image
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
HPD creates city-wide task force as 'juggings' continue to rise
The Houston Police Department created a task force to stop robbers from following their victims from banks and high-end stores.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Police Department is creating a task force in response to the increase in "juggings" over the last year, Chief Troy Finner announced Tuesday.

"Juggings" are crimes during which the crooks follow victims from banks or stores in order to rob or steal from them. As ABC13 has reported, police have seen an uptick since last August.

"We are establishing a city-wide task force, which is going to include other law enforcement partners," Finner announced during a wide-ranging news conference with Mayor Sylvester Turner. "And the message is: If you keep doing it, we will put you in jail."

Last Friday afternoon, Tiffanye Oderwale became a jugging victim.

"Just be aware of your surroundings, and hopefully, you have a sixth sense of what danger is around," Oderwale said.

Oderwale shared a video of some of the crime. The crook, in an orange hoodie, broke into her vehicle outside the restaurant in west Houston that Oderwale owns with her husband. He grabbed her handbag and took off. Thankfully, she said, her wallet fell out into her car, and the thief did not take her laptop. However, he was patient.

"He waited. He waited, and it took him from 2:46 to 2:58 in the video. In that time frame, he was there," she said.

Police believe the crook targeted her at a bank. She was at two different ones to make transactions, she said. He then followed her to the restaurant.

Police say "juggers" target victims at banks, high-end stores, and gun ranges. Oftentimes, they work in teams and conduct hours of surveillance in vehicles with dark-tinted windows and paper license plates.

Police advise you always to be aware of your surroundings, and if you feel like you're being followed, call for help. Also, they warn against making stops with cash or valuables in a vehicle.

"It's very surprising that they can be that bold," Oderwale said.

For more on this story, follow Jessica Willey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

RELATED: Catalytic converter theft reports decline, but police warn to not let your guard down

Houston police warn people to still be on guard despite catalytic converter thefts having declined drastically since 2022.