BRENTWOOD, MO. (KPLR) - “It’s very scary.” That’s how one Brentwood shopper described the news that two suspects forced a woman at gunpoint to take them to an ATM to withdraw money.
Brentwood police say it happened Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm on the Brentwood Square parking lot near Whole Foods. The victim was sitting in her car, eating a sandwich when one of the suspects pointed a gun and demanded her wallet and cell phone.
Police say the woman only had a few dollars and that’s when the men forced her to drive them to an ATM. Then they forced her to drive back to the lot where the two men ran away. The victim was not harmed.
Police are surprised they don’t have a better description because the parking lot was filled with shoppers Sunday afternoon.
“We want people to feel comfortable in our neighborhood but at the same time I think they need to be more aware of their surroundings."
Brentwood police chief Steve Disbennett said the woman was unharmed. He said the suspects forced her to drive back to the parking lot where they ran away heading south.
A number of witnesses saw the suspects just before the crime occurred.
“They thought they were a little suspicious but unfortunately didn’t call us,” said Chief Disbennett.
Dr. Ann Steffen works in the Psychology Department for UM-St. Louis. She says studies show people in areas perceived to be safe often fail to take action to stop a crime because they’re often unaware anything is wrong.
“I think trying to get the message out that maybe no one place is perfectly safe and that you have to be a little bit aware is a hard message,” said Steffen.
Deborah Reed was leaving Whole Foods on Monday and said she always has an eye on her surroundings no matter where she is.
“People used to think you can escape crime by going to certain areas,” said Reed. “But you can’t.”
Police have only a vague description of the suspects. Chief Disbennett described them as black males, medium build with dark clothes. He said one suspect is thought to be in his late teens the other in his early 20s.