So there's a good chance some of you are planning to venture out on Black Friday, intent on throwing yourself into the hordes of people fighting over an iPod knockoff. Well, we kinda think you're nuts.
But the good thing is, you're not alone in your nuttery. Plenty of Houstonians will be out there along with you, all clawing their way to the electronics bins at Walmart in a fight to the death for whatever that super-cheap thing is everyone's after.
But there are plenty of reasons you should watch yo'self during Black Friday shopping. No one needs to be robbed at gunpoint in a mall parking lot. So here are just a few reasons to be cautious as you head out tomorrow (or tonight, or whenever the hell stores are opening for Black Friday these days):
Groups of Purse Snatchers Apparently Exist in Houston Last week, an undercover officer managed to stop a group of purse snatchers, who police say were attempting to steal a woman's purse at a strip center off I-10.
HPD said that the undercover officer was patrolling a number of parking lots around John Ralston and the East Freeway, when he saw an attempted purse snatching taking place and managed to intervene.
According to the officer, a man drove his car up alongside the woman in the parking lot, and proceeded to hop out and knock her to the ground, snatching her purse in the process. He then got back in his car and attempted to take off, but was stymied by the stealthy officer.
And that's hardly the first time in recent months that police have warned the public about purse snatching around the city. In October, purse-snatching thieves were targeting shoppers in the Louis Vuitton store at the Galleria.
Authorities said that a couple shopping at Louis Vuitton was followed by thieves about 30 miles from the Galleria to Cypress, where they stopped to eat dinner. While in the restaurant, their car was broken into and their newly purchased Louis Vuitton bag -- worth about $3,000 (because consumerism is awesome) -- was stolen. The following day, a viewer who saw the news report on Local 2 contacted the station, saying the same thing had happened to her.
So should you purchase anything at the Louis Vuitton store, cradle that huge purchase in your arms until you get home, lest some shitty thief follow you from the Galleria and rob you of your leather goods. Or, should you be stuck in the parking lot of some strip mall, it might be smart to wear a fanny pack instead of a purse. Even Amanda Bynes is doing it.
Auto Thefts in The Woodlands, and All Over Texas, Are Up So, not surprisingly, the number of auto thefts has increased over the last year in The Woodlands, according to a recent report by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Auto Theft Task Force. But auto thefts are on the rise across the state, so perhaps it would be wise to take heed wherever you are in Texas.
According to the report, there were 114 auto thefts this fiscal year in The Woodlands, a big jump from the 85 the area saw last year. And last year, it was a rash of Hondas being taken from the Woodlands mall area. This year it's Dodge pickups and Ford F-250s.
Whatever you drive, people are trying to snatch yo' shit, not just in The Woodlands but across Texas. And with the chaos of Black Friday, you can bet your bottom dollar they'll be out there playing I Spy with your car.
And, Of Course, There are All Those Parking Lot Robberies As expected, with more people heading out into the wild blue mall yonder to shop for the holidays, more reports are popping up about people being robbed in the parking lots.
Earlier this week, a woman was robbed and carjacked in the parking lot at West Oaks Mall at gunpoint. According to reports, very shortly after stepping out of her car and into the parking lot, she was confronted by a man with a gun, who was demanding her purse and keys. She was not hurt in the incident, but the robber took off with her car.
A shopper was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of Memorial City Mall late last week, shortly after leaving the Dillard's store. The victim was walking to her car when she was held at gunpoint, with the robber snatching her purse and keys.
According to police, one of the issues apparently was that the woman parked next to a taller car, which shielded it from sight and made her an easier target. They're now warning people to park where it's easier to survey the area, which, well...good luck if you're planning to be safe and own something that's not an SUV or truck.
In early November, a Katy mom with a toddler in tow was robbed at gunpoint in the Katy Mills mall parking lot as shortly after she strapped her child in the carseat.
According to reports, the man came from a parking lot nearby and stuck a gun in her face, demanding her purse. Her credit cards were used a couple of hours later, and her cell phone was found on the side of the road along 99. A couple was later charged in the robbery, and police now believe they were responsible for a number of other robberies in the area.
So yeah. Click2Houston even has a list of the five Houston-area malls with the most calls to police, in case you really want to know where you should watch your back.
According to the station, the top five malls for the most calls to police over one year are: 1. The Woodlands Mall, with about 461 calls for service. 2. Katy Mills, which had about 308 calls for service. 3. Galleria, which had about 215 calls for service. 4. Centre at Post Oak had about 195 calls for service. 5. Greenspoint Mall, which (surprisingly, given its history) had about 180 calls for service.
Should you be braver than us and plan to fight your way through Black Friday to hunt for deals, please be sure to watch yo' ass and maybe steer clear of places that are somewhat sketchy, no matter how good that deal is. That's our PSA for today, folks. Happy hunting.