Beware of 'bank jugging,' California authorities warn: What to know

File photo of Chase Bank ATMs in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Authorities are warning the public of a rise in "bank jugging" incidents reported across the U.S., including right here in Southern California. 

Bank jugging is a form of robbery. Accoridng to investigators, a suspect will watch and follow a victim from a bank, credit union, ATM/ITM or check-cashing store to their next location.

Once there, the suspect threatens or assaults the victim then demands or takes the victim’s money.

This isn't a new crime trend. Last year, we told you of one such incident in Texas where a man identified as Terrence Thompson, 59, was seen on surveillance video following a Bank of America customer who had withdrawn a large amount of money. 


Thompson followed the customer to their place of work and broke into the customer's vehicle, officials said. 

Authorities stated surveillance was able to capture Thompson at the bank and taking the large sum of money in the customer's car, leading to his arrest.

Police have issued the following safety tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim:

  • Be vigilant of individuals lingering without purpose in the vicinity of the parking area or lobby of a financial institution.
  • Maintain focus while you are inside the bank. Refrain from using your phone or wearing earbuds to avoid distractions.
  • When you have obtained cash, secure it in a nondescript bag, like a briefcase or purse, rather than the small cash envelopes or bags often provided.
  • Upon entering your vehicle, ensure all doors are locked.
  • Avoid leaving large sums of money unattended in your car.
  • Be conscious of any vehicles that might be trailing you after you leave the parking area.
  • If you suspect you are being followed, contact emergency services immediately by calling 911 or head straight to the nearest police or fire station.
  • Remember: If you see something, say something. Your awareness can help protect both you and your community