ELK GROVE (CBS13) — A mother has a warning for neighbors after her teens came face-to-face with a strange man following a string of robberies.
The motivation for those crimes is the same. The suspects waits for the car to pull into the driveway, then they strike.
“It was very scary, very scary,” said Charlotte Rieger of Elk Grove.
Her teenage daughters were coming home late from church, but when they pulled into the driveway, they knew something was wrong.
“She had the window rolled up; she was not talking to him,” she said. Instead, they were calling their father just inside.
The interaction was all caught on surveillance cameras they installed just two weeks before.
“Watching these crimes accelerate we felt we needed it,” Rieger said.
But they couldn’t believe it was happening to them.
“When I watched it, my heart broke because he was in my daughter’s personal space. Just watching him standing there creepily looking at them was just devastating,” she said.
The teens’ dad ran the man off. Police were called, but couldn’t find the man.
Unlike this case, the suspects usually show a gun, and other victims weren’t so lucky.
“Crimes of opportunity do happen, and they can happen anywhere,” said Sgt. Shaun Hampton with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
From Sacramento County to South Sacramento to Elk Grove, investigators have had reports from multiple locations. In nearly every case, investigators said the suspect or suspects approached a vehicle in a driveway and attempted to rob the victims.
On Dolphinfish Way, deputies said the alleged robbers laid in wait for the victims to unlock the front door.
“They did rob those victims at gunpoint,” Hampton said.
Two suspects were later arrested and caught with several guns.
In another attack on Deer Run Way, the victim was robbed and grazed by a bullet in his driveway.
“It’s very scary,” a neighbor said.
While detectives aren’t ruling out that these crimes are unrelated, they said the crimes are just likely those of opportunity.
Reiger hopes others heed the warning to help keep their families safe.
“They did everything right, and I couldn’t have asked for better examples,” she said of her two daughters.
Investigators said the best way to protect yourself is to be very alert and aware of your surroundings.