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OT - You can never be too careful!
Ian Donald, Photographer
Antioch | CA | USA | Posted: 11:02 AM on 10.12.07
->> Just a reminder to stay on your guard - even in familiar surroundings. I was robbed at gunpoint while using the ATM at my local Bank branch early yesterday morning. I had no thoughts of misguided heroics - but maybe it was the photographer in me that made sure that I threw the cash down in front of the bank's handy ATM camera - at least the Antioch PD would have a nice photo of this parasite picking up his ill-gotten gains as soon as my bank opened in the morning.

The sun was up, and the crime happened in a busy local strip shopping Mall - which faces onto a main road full of early morning commuter traffic. The entrance to a large grocery store is 100 yards away, the Bank's ATM wall faced a busy Donut shop 30 yards across the parking lot! (No - it wasn't full of cops!) As I pulled up next to the ATM in my vehicle, I had noticed the kid leaning on the plate glass window of the donut shop, apparently having a conversation on his cellphone - there were lots of people inside and I didn't think that much of it. In the few seconds it took me to walk across the sidewalk to the ATM and perform a "fast cash" withdrawal, he had apparently sprinted across the parking lot, jumping out from behind my Land Rover as I was putting the cash in my wallet.

Under the circumstances I consider myself fortunate - my hooded assailant decided to save the shells in his impressively large semi-automatic handgun for a more deserving target on another occasion and took off running in the direction of some nearby apartments. If he had decided to take my vehicle, it was full of gas and there were 2 big cases full of camera gear and lighting equipment sitting inside.

I was heading for an event 350 miles away in S. Cal and by the time the Cops had finished taking statements from myself and witnesses, that was no longer practical. Unfortunately the potential witnesses in the Donut shop were less attentive than one might have expected - a number of them turned out to be killing time waiting for the local methadone clinic to open at 7.00AM!

Six hours after an armed robbery, the Antioch PD had not even called the bank to ask them to secure the surveillance tape, let alone found the time to make a visit in person. The Bank Manager used my ATM receipt's time stamp to find the section of tape, confirmed that it showed the full sequence of events and called the department with the case # the officers had given me earlier, and asked if they would like to drop by and see it.

The overworked local Cops showed up to view the video and stated that it was of too low quality to give them much info on the identity of the perpetrator - just another gangling youth who looked like something straight out of a "gangsta rap" video - only grainier... (and we bitch about the resolution of OUR cameras)

As the unsavory possible alternate endings to this incident flash through my mind, I am reminded of how numb we can become to the everyday nature of such occurrences. There seem to be so many of these young predators, who think so little of life and the consequences of their actions that, short of locking yourself in the house with a loaded shotgun on your lap, it is now impossible to avoid exposure to them completely (oops! - I forgot - we have home-invasion robberies here now too...)

Catharsis complete - please stay safe out there.

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Christopher Bluhm, Photographer, Assistant
Milwaukee | WI | USA | Posted: 11:12 AM on 10.12.07
->> Yikes Ian! Glad you're safe. And thanks for the reminder...
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Dennis Wierzbicki, Photographer
Plainfield | IL | USA | Posted: 11:14 AM on 10.12.07
->> Wow, Ian, what a horrible thing to happen. Thankfully, to say the least, you're OK.

Thanks for reminding us what most of us don't like to think about - life can change very quickly and when we least expect it to - bad things seemingly can occur any time, anywhere, so your advice to stay alert and stay safe is well taken.

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Todd Corzett, Photographer
Livermore | CA | USA | Posted: 11:59 AM on 10.12.07
->> Very glad to hear that you are safe! Quick thinking on several fronts, and best of luck with the investigation. Again, glad you are safe!

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Thread Title: OT - You can never be too careful!
Thread Started By: Ian Donald
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