Gunman robs shopper in mall parking lot

March 14, 2008 3:45:10 PM PDT
It was closing time at the Dover Mall when investigators say a man robbed a shopper a gunpoint. When Dover police arrived just moments later, they were relieved to discover the weapon used was a pellet gun, but what happened near the Sears Auto Center is still of grave concern.

Investigators say the 35-year-old victim, who was getting into her car, complied with demands to drop to the ground and turn over her purse.

"Some people say it's only a pellet gun. That's not a concern of ours. It's a weapon. We're concerned with that," said Lt. Jim Hosfelt.

Also concerning police is the boldness of the bandit who apparently fled in another vehicle.

"She was not alone in the parking lot at the time. I mean there were other people, other employees leaving the mall when he committed the crime. That's a big concern when someone like that is brazen and willing to do that when other people are around," said Hosfelt.

Security units were visible in the parking lot on Friday, but Action News was not allowed on the property.

No one from management would agree to an interview, but a written emailed statement says in part, "We have complete confidence in the comprehensive security program at Dover Mall and believe it is a very safe place to shop."

In light of what happened, Dover police are urging shoppers to take precautions like traveling in pairs and being aware of those around you.

"I make sure when I come out of the store that somebody's always out there and it's in a well lit area and things like that," said Diane White.

"With society and things getting this bad, I mean you should have somebody with you I guess," said Betty Butler.

Because all of this unfolded in a parking lot, investigators are hoping someone saw something that will lead them to the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dover police.