Aylesbury man says his kids were left 'screaming' after seeing two men rob him in Luton
A man from Aylesbury has contacted The Bucks Herald to tell us about how he was robbed of his cash card and ultimately £500 in front of his wife and three young children in broad daylight in Luton last weekend.
The Aylesbury man, who wishes to remain anonymous, has a PhD and works at a research institute. He claims he was in Luton attending a funeral on Sunday 26 January when the alleged incident occurred.
He told us that at around 2pm he had stopped to buy a pizza from a fast food restaurant on Dunstable Road when he realised he needed to withdraw some money from the ATM close to the restaurant.
He said that as he approached the cash point he noticed two men with their faces covered by snoods lurking nearby, but at the time just assumed they were motorcyclists.
He explained that after he had put his card and pin number into the machine, one of the two men leaned in and began pretending to be concerned that the machine applied a high withdrawal charge and was warning him about it.
At this moment the first man in the snood hit the 'cancel' button, snatched the card as it ejected and passed it to his accomplice who then ran away.
The Aylesbury researcher told us: "I said to him 'what's happening here' and he responded that the card was still in the machine and told me to try another button."
The first man in the snood continued to argue while pretending to want to help. The victim now believes this to have been a delay tactic so that the card could not be cancelled before money had been withdrawn by the second thief.
"For sure they were trained and knew all of the tricks," he added.
All of this was taking place while the victim's wife and children were watching on in horror in their car parked nearby.
When the first thief finally moved away the victim returned to his car and told his wife what had happened and she immediately rang the bank. Although only seven minutes had passed, the thieves had already taken £500 from his account.
The victim, clearly angry and frustrated, explained: "I was so horrified that I didn't think to take pictures but I'm sure if I had done anything these guys would have harmed me.
"This happened in daylight in a very busy area. My children were screaming and didn't want to stay in Luton."
Remarkably, the victim also told us that the whole incident was witnessed by a former police officer who instantly recognised what was taking place. She called the police while the robbery was in progress. One of the two men saw her on her phone and approached the car and threatened her.
The victim described the first thief as male, in his early twenties and about 5'4".
The second thief was also male, also in his early 20s, around 6'0" with the build of a bodybuilder.
Due to their faces being covered he is unsure of their ethnicity or skin colour.
Bedfordshire police provided us the following statement: "We are investigating reports of a theft in Dunstable Road, Luton at 2pm on Sunday (26 January).
"Two men got into an argument with the victim and stole his bank card before running off. Any witnesses or anyone else with any information should contact police on 101, quoting reference 40/5300/20.
"You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."