Police: "Jugger" targeted woman and son in parking lot of Bellaire church

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman who was picking up her son from a day camp at a Bellaire church Friday afternoon was held up at gunpoint. According to police, the gunman threatened to shoot the mother and son if they didn't stop screaming.

"To be honest, the robber probably didn't realize it was a church parking lot," said Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway. "He was likely just focused on getting money."

Police think it was no coincidence that the woman stopped at a Bank of America branch on Kirby and Bissonnet before driving to Bellaire United Methodist.

"It's called jugging, where robbers target people they see at banks," said Holloway.

In this case, the victim is said to have cashed a large check.

Often, the "juggers" wait for the driver to get out of the car.

"They figure the victim has to stop somewhere and that's when they move in," said Holloway.

The suspect opened the woman's passenger door and demanded the money at gunpoint.

She complied and the suspect got away. Neither the woman, nor her 9-year-old son, were physically harmed.

A church security camera produced only a fuzzy image of what appears to be a silver sedan, believed to be a newer model.

Holloway said the thieves often work in groups, with one targeting a victim at a bank, and another told which vehicle to follow.

Sometimes, they're known to park near a bank and stand inside lobbies, looking for those who are handed cash envelopes or deposit bags. Once they walk outside, they're followed.

"That's why you have to be vigilant," he said. "If you have a sense that you're being followed, call police, or go to a police station. We'd rather check out a hundred false alarms of people who are afraid someone's following them, than to have to respond to that one person who should have called us."

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