The Tifton Police Department wishes to make citizens aware of, as well as ask for their help in, an incident that occurred at approximately 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the Tifton Mall.
According to Lt. Lee Dunston with the TPD’s Criminal Investigations Division, a 61-year-old woman arrived at the mall and parked in the parking lot behind JC Penney and near the exterior entrance to Belk. He stated in an e-mail that when she got out of her vehicle, she was approached by a black male wearing an orange or rust colored, V-neck long sleeved shirt, blue jeans and a tan or light brown colored ski mask. He was described as a black male, possibly in his early 20s, between 5’10” and 6’ tall.
Dunston said the suspect pointed a handgun at the woman and told her to open the door of her vehicle so that he could get in. He ran from the scene when she screamed and started running.
Witnesses saw a white Chevrolet car, possibly a Lumina or Impala, leaving the area immediately following the crime, says Dunston.
He stated, “According to video obtained from one of the stores, the white car had been in the parking lot for some time, so it is possible that the suspect watched for an opportunity to carry out the crime. This is particularly alarming because the suspect did not demand the victim’s purse or money as you would see in a typical robbery. We do not know exactly what the motive was, but the way this was carried out is a cause for elevated concern.”
He added that the TPD is asking that anyone with information about this crime contact the TPD’s Criminal Investigations Division at 382-3132.
“This man is somebody’s son, brother, friend, etc., and we are asking that they call us,” Dunston said. “Somebody knows who was wearing this clothing and driving this car on Saturday.”
Additionally, the TPD urges everyone to be aware of their surroundings.
Dunston stated that at this time of the year, approaching the holidays, there is typically an increase in thefts and related crimes in the shopping areas.
“Watch for people just hanging around or sitting in vehicles,” he said. “If someone makes you uncomfortable, get on the phone and get to a more populated area. Be wary of people approaching you or your vehicle and, if possible, use the buddy system.”
He added, “We are thankful that nobody was hurt in this particular incident, but we want the public to be aware of the danger that may be out there.”