Clearwater police arestepping up patrols in the Westfield Countryside Mall parking lot after a womanand her two preschoolers were almost carjacked.
On Sunday, surveillancecameras caught a glimpse of a man who police say went on to hold a young motherat gunpoint.
The man took off afteranother car drove up and spooked him.
Police are most curiousabout a move that he makes in the video, a casual stretching motion that theysay may be distinctive to him.
"If he was casingpeople or if he was going in to gather himself? On the video, we are trying tofigure out if he's stretching, or what he's doing," said Clearwater policespokesman Rob Shaw.
After his"casual" move, police say he accosted a 24-year-old in the parkinglot. She had two preschoolers.
He showed a gun anddemanded the car. She begged him not to hurt her or her babies. He only ranaway after another car drove up.
"Things could havegone really bad, he pulls out the handgun, pulls the slide on the handgun, whoknows what could have happened?" asked Shaw.
Clearwater officer KimKilian has increased urgency as she makes her own kind of "shopping"run around the mall.
In light of theattempted carjacking, police are "shopping" extra carefully forsuspicious people.
"I'm looking forthe person who stands out," said Kilian. "The person (who is) zigzaggingin between cars, maybe that doesn't have any bags, who is kind of lingering inthe parking lot."
Kilian is watchingpeople with children, and those who walk alone to their cars. It's sad, buttrue, they can be targets.
"Sometimes thekids are crying, you're pushing the stroller, trying to carry your bags, andthe cell phone's ringing. You're definitely not going to be as alert,"said Kilian.
Jessica Burrows, who came shopping Monday with her husband and newborn, saidshe's spooked.
"I won't changehis diaper in the car. I won't quickly feed him. I will be putting him in andgetting out of there," Burrows said.
The head of the mallsaid they're nearly certain this is the first carjacking they've had here, andthis is one of the safest malls in the area.
If you recognize the guy in the video,call police.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?