Are Quad City Women Being Targeted By Panhandlers?
The next time you go shopping, you may want to be on alert. A Facebook post warning QC residents has been making the rounds describing a Davenport shopper's scary encounter.
The woman alleges she was approached by a man while standing near her vehicle in a parking lot in the Elmore Area. She says that the man first asked her for food, then attempted to follow her as she walked around the other side of her vehicle. In another comment, she noted that the man raised his shirt strangely as he approached her. She added that after the man left, she noticed he retreated to a Maroon Buick Rendezvous that was being driven by another man and they headed to the Kohl's parking lot, where he proceeded to approach others.
She added that after the man left, she noticed he retreated to a Maroon Buick Rendezvous that was being driven by another man and they headed to the Kohl's parking lot, where he proceeded to approach others.
In comments made by Facebook users, other women said they have spotted the same man in the parking lot of Aldi by Elmore, at different Hyvee locations throughout Davenport, and in front of Chipotle. Most accounts say the same thing- the man approached them with his shirt raised, attempting to show a scar on his chest and giving them a story about having had surgery and being unable to work because of it. He usually asks for money or food. Many of the women expressed how nervous the encounters made them, and that they felt threatened.
I was approached a few months ago by a man in the parking lot at Target and felt as taken aback as the women commenting on the post. The man who approached me asked for money and got uncomfortably close. I also noticed that he came up to me when I had my back turned to him while putting my bags away in my trunk.
Every self-defense article I have read has said to be careful while doing things like loading groceries, looking down at your phone, or even putting your kids in their car seats. Having your back turned leaves you vulnerable and makes you an easy target. While I'm not sure that the women who shared their stories were turned away when the man approached them, no one is really expecting to be targeted while out shopping during the middle of the day, and this man is aware of that. He seems to be preying specifically on women that are by themselves.
The best thing you can do is always pay attention to your surroundings, lock your doors as soon as you get into your vehicle, and don't hesitate to contact the store where you're shopping to give them a head's up if someone approaches you. Call 911 if you feel especially threatened. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
NOTE: A previous version of this story included the original Facebook post, which has since been removed.