You’ve seen them at lending institutions, whether free-standing or at grocery stores, armored truck drivers who deliver and pick up cash. Unfortunately, so have the crooks.
Special Agent Shauna Dunlap is with the Houston division of the FBI. She says there have been more armored truck robberies this year than in years past.
“We’ve had and responded to 10 armored car robberies, just armored car robberies alone, within this calendar year to date. Four of those came just in the months of September and October. So, it’s something that’s concerning us, there has been a rise this year in Houston. But what’s more concerning than the rise in the number, is the violence that we’re seeing, that these robbers are willing to engage in during the commission of these crimes.”
Dunlap says the violent element of these hold-ups puts citizens at risk.
“We’re seeing bullets riddled across innocent bystander’s vehicles. Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we’re very concerned. We’re stepping up our efforts and we’re trying to ensure that we get that word out that this is not a crime that typically pays. Most of these cases, they’re not getting away with any cash. These armored car messengers are armed typically, and it is a federal crime.”
Four out of the ten armored truck hold-ups involved Garda World. The Quebec-based company moves an estimated $5 billion dollars a day in cash. One worker was hurt as he foiled an attempted heist a couple of months ago. But Robert Hatchett with Garda World, says the company is doing something about it.
“In the last two months alone, we’ve seen the criminals get more aggressive, in terms of their activity. And so, now Garda World is taking a stance, and being pro-active to make sure that there’s public awareness around who we are, what we do, and the fact that we want to protect the valuables that we transport, but we also want to protect ourselves and protect the public.”
He says they’re responding to the increase in violence with their employees.
“They’re brandishing weapons and in some cases, they’re opening fire. That’s not acceptable socially. It’s not acceptable in terms of the industry, and so that’s why we’re making sure the public knows we’re going to do what we have to do, to protect ourselves while we’re out there servicing our customers.”
Garda World has increased security efforts that include more officers, additional trucks and a change in current routes and schedules. Hatchett adds the public can help by not blocking armored vehicles when you park.