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Robber fires shot at ground while confronting woman in parking lot of Beaumont Target

BEAUMONT - By Megan Dillard - Just several hours after a robber fired a gun in the parking lot of target Thursday night, Beaumont police returned to the store for a second report of shots fired.

One set of doors is boarded up after surveillance video showed a group of people drive up in a gold vehicle at about one this morning. Police say someone in the vehicle shot either a handgun or a bb gun. It shattered the glass. Nothing was stolen and no one was hurt but the shooting came just hours after a man with a gun robbed a woman shortly after six Thursday night.

Officers say a man approached a 24-year-old shopper as she was leaving Target. He tried to grab her purse and the two struggled. The robber pulled out a gun and fired one shot at the ground. The woman wasn't hurt. He took her purse, ran through the parking lot, got into a vehicle and drove away.

While officers investigate the two cases, they're also offering safety reminders to shoppers for the upcoming holiday season.

A steady stream of cars and trucks along the Eastex freeway; a parking lot just about filled at Target. Signs the holiday season is here.

"There are more people out in the holidays. And if there's more people out, then people who would victimize you are going to be out as well."

Sgt. Rob Flores offers safety tips for shoppers.

"Don't overload yourself with packages, which is kind of difficult during the holiday season. You want to have a free range of movement. You want to have really clear visibility. Those packages make you a target."

Police say when you leave a store, you should walk with purpose. When you're getting in your car, it's not the time to waste messing with your purse or your phone. Have your keys ready, buckle up, and go.

"It's real easy for you to sit there and check your list, or update your Facebook status, but that's not the time to do it. You're still in the public, you're still vulnerable, even though you're in that car."

"Safety is always on my mind."

Gene Ricks keeps an eye out year around. He and his wife tackle safety as a team.

"We circle through the parking lot. We find a place that's not too congested. We watch what's going on. We watch for groups."

Philbrick Hill runs errands and enjoys popcorn at Target every Friday.

He's not just concerned with his safety.

"Some people can't help themselves, especially older people."

Hill believes the economy is a factor in crimes during the holiday season.

"A lot of people don't have things right now. No jobs or nothing. It's going to cause a problem. They want to have what you've got. Sometimes they think taking it is the right way, but that's not the right way to do it."

Teri Wiggins finds safety in numbers.

"There's more moms shopping. It's good to see more people out."

She also strives to stay focused from door to door.

"I try to pay attention to my surroundings. Park in light areas; close my doors. I really try not to get out after dark if it's just me and the kids because you can so easily get distracted and someone can sneak up on you."

So while there are more shoppers in the stores and more people on the roads, remember the reason why you're out and about and keep safety top of mind.

"Your ultimate goal in your shopping is not necessarily to buy those gifts but to get back home to your family so you can share those gifts."

Sgt. Flores offered several more safety tips.

Flores advised people should shop in groups; use the buddy system.

He says shoppers should pay attention to what's going around around them and also put purchases in the trunk or other hidden places.

If you have information about the robbery outside Target or the shot that shattered the glass call Beaumont Crime Stoppers at 833-TIPS.

Operators won't ask for your name and you could earn cash.

BEAUMONT - by Scott Lawrence - Beaumont Police are searching for a gunman who fired a shot toward the ground after robbing a woman in the parking lot of the Target shopping center off the Eastex Freeway.

KFDM was on the scene shortly after the robbery. Watch Six News Tonight for the latest information.

Police say the man confronted a 24-year-old woman from Orange at about 5:40 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the Target center. The woman told officers she had finished shopping at Target and was walking to her car when the man confronted her and tried to take her purse. She struggled with the man and he pulled out a handgun and fired one shot at the ground.  He then took her purse and ran away through the parking lot. He got into a green older model truck and fled northbound on the Eastex Freeway Service Road. The woman wasn't hurt.

She described the gunman as a black man with facial hair, 5'10' to 6' with a medium build, wearing a gray hoodie and dark pants. If you have information about the robber call Beaumont Crime Stoppers at 833-TIPS. Operators won't ask for your name and you could earn a cash reward.    

Robber fires shot at ground while confronting woman in parking lot of Beaumont Target

Friday, November 16 2012, 07:29 PM CST
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