NAPLES, Fla — The Collier County Sheriff's Office is advising the public on best safety practices in light of several cases of bank "jugging" in the area.
In January, deputies arrested two suspects allegedly involved in breaking into a vehicle and stealing over $750 in cash from customers leaving a Bonita Springs bank.
"Bank jugging" is a slang term, according to CCSO, that describes thieves waiting outside financial institutions to follow and steal money from customers who may leave cash in their cars after driving to a different destination.
Authorities say that this type of crime is more common during the holidays. Cases in Collier County spiked in December, per CCSO.
Residents speaking to Fox 4 shared their safety practices when going to the bank.
"I never leave money in my car. I would say you're just best off never leaving anything in the car," advised one resident.
Others explained how they use online banking to mitigate the potential of getting robbed.
According to the Collier County Sheriff's Office, 'bank juggers' often select their targets and tail them to their next destination if they see them holding what appears to be white envelopes of cash.
Officials note that most of the recent incidents have occurred during regular banking hours.
"Put the money away while you're still inside the bank or credit union… if you have a purse, put it inside your purse… if it's a wallet, put the money in your wallet… don't walk out with it, for the criminals, to readily make you a target," advised lieutenant Chad Parker advises, "
The Collier County Sheriff's Office says it is still actively investigating the recent burglaries, believing they are connected. Convicted 'bank jugging' criminals could face up to 5 years behind bars.