‘Jugging’ robberies on the rise around the DC region

Police around the D.C. region continue to battle an increase in armed robberies called “jugging.” These crimes happen at banks, but the suspects aren’t going in and robbing bank tellers — they’re robbing the customers.

Bowie Police Chief Dwayne Preston said suspects are robbing people entering or exiting the bank who seem to be carrying funds, such as an envelope of cash.

“They’re targeting people and they’re coming up to them, armed in most cases with a handgun, and robbing them of those funds,” Preston said.

A chase that started in Annapolis following one such incident last week ended with two suspects dying in a fiery crash along Southern Avenue in Southeast D.C. But that didn’t stop crews from repeatedly hitting banks in Bowie and other parts of Prince George’s County, Maryland, in the ensuing days.

On Monday morning, an armed guard stood outside a bank along Route 197 in Bowie after customers there were robbed twice since July 3.

Bowie, and the rest of the county, has seen a spike in these crimes lately, prompting that department and county police to offer safety tips when going to the bank.

In all, Bowie has seen four of these crimes since last Wednesday. It’s unclear how many the rest of the county has seen, but police officials said they are seeing an increase, too.

“What we’ve seen is that these things happen in succession,” Preston said. “So it’s not occurring just here in Bowie. Generally, the same suspects have been hitting either banks in Anne Arundel County or other parts of Prince George’s County, but it’s the same suspects. And it appears to be more than one crew.”

It’s not clear if those crews are connected, or just committing the same type of crime. But he said vehicles that have been reported stolen are being used, and the main getaway route seems to be Route 50 back into D.C.

“It appears that either the vehicles have been recovered in the District or in the case of the fatal accident, that ended in the District of Columbia,” he said. “So there seems to be a connection with D.C. in terms of where the suspects may be coming from.”

But that aspect remains under investigation at the moment, he added.

Preston’s advice is to pay attention to your surroundings and look for anything that seems out of place, such as a vehicle that’s parked but has multiple people still inside.

“Pay attention to your surroundings… try not to visibly have cash or valuables in your hand,” the chief advised. “Some people are walking out with cash and envelopes and things like that, so it makes you an easier target.”

And if you don’t have to go alone, bringing a friend would also be advisable, he said.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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