Police on alert after woman robbed at mall at gunpoint - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Woman robbed at Coastal Grand Mall Thursday afternoon, report states

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A woman told police that she was robbed at gunpoint at the Coastal Grand mall at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday; she said at first, she thought someone was playing a prank on her. Police say they're starting to patrol mall and shopping centers more now through the holiday season because that's where criminals are going.

Myrtle Beach Police responded to the 100 block of Coastal Grand Circle in reference to an armed robbery Thursday afternoon.

The victim said she was at her car when an unknown suspect told her to give him the bag. She thought it was someone playing a prank on her, and turned around to find the a man holding a silver pistol. Police say he ordered her to the ground and took her purse and keys from inside the car in broad daylight.

While police will be out on patrol more during the colder months, you need to do you part. You can't let yourself look like an easy target. "That's the thing that criminals want," says Captain David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach police. "They want that easy target. So don't become an easy target."

You can make it more difficult for criminals looking to victimize you."A criminal is looking for the easiest target possible," Captain Knipes says. "Somebody walking alone, an elderly person, somebody that probably is not paying attention, they're on their phone. So, you need to always be careful of what you're doing, where you're parking, be observant of things that are going on."

Paula Gibson works at a business beside the mall, and says she see people all the time who aren't being observant. "They pay no attention when they're coming out. They're texting, they're not even paying attention to the cars and the traffic. I mean, if we don't protect ourselves, who's going to?"

Police say being observant is important, and so is having someone else with you. The victim yesterday was lucky, because the man who robbed her didn't hurt her. When he fled, she paid attention and got his license plate number and was able to give it to police. Now they have a better idea of who they're looking for.

 "There's nothing, no possession that's worth losing your life or getting injured," Captain Knipes says. "If somebody has a gun or a weapon on you, cooperate and be the best victim that you can be, the best witness that you can be. And get us as much information as you can to help us put this person behind bars."

If you're walking to your car and you see someone around your car that looks suspicious, don't risk it. Take five more minutes, go back into the mall and have a security guard escort you. Mall officials say they're more than happy to do so.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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