Law enforcement offers tips on avoiding, surviving a kidnapping

Law enforcement offers tips on avoiding, surviving a kidnapping

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An unimaginable story unfolded in Birmingham when a woman who said she was kidnapped was captured on security camera jumping out of the trunk of her moving car and fleeing. She managed to escape with only minor injuries.

In surveillance video from a Birmingham gas station where she escaped, you can see a car start to drive off. Then, the trunk opens and the woman falls to the ground. She jumps up and runs inside to seek help. The gas station owner says the victim told him she'd been inside that trunk for about two hours.

Police say the woman informed them she was walking up to her apartment Tuesday night when a man approached her and pulled a gun. He demanded money and forced her into the trunk of her own car. He then drove around to several locations trying to use her credit card to withdraw money.

"It's kinda incredible to actually see it on video," said Lt. Randy Pollard as he watched clips of the surveillance camera. "She waited for the opportunity where she felt like she could get away and she got away."

Pollard, who works with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, said no matter the circumstances of how it all unfolded, the woman did exactly what she had to do to get away.

"If she would have just been a victim and continued to be a victim throughout the rest of the night, there's absolutely no telling what would have happened to her," Pollard said. "She calmly decided this is my opportunity. She took her opportunity and then she ran, she broke contact with the individual, and she never looked back."

Pollard stresses that it all goes back to Run/Hide/Fight and knowing who you are. He said you need to know your strengths and weaknesses and think about how you would react to safely survive a situation. He suggests running scenarios often through your mind to always be prepared.

"It allows your mind to play those games through, so if something like that encounter does happen to you, if something like that encounter happens, you've at least given your brain enough back time to react in a way that would be beneficial for you," Pollard expressed. "You cannot be terrified by the things that happen in this world. You need to be prepared for things like that to happen in this world, and it doesn't matter if it's an armed gunman or a fire or tornado or hurricane or flood or whatever."

Pollard adds that it's important to pay attention to your surroundings in hopes of not becoming a victim.

"When you pull up at the house, don't just shut the car off. What does it take to just sit there and be aware of where you are? Look around, leave your lights on. It'll take you 15 seconds more. In that 15 seconds you may see something that stands out, take the time to look," he urged.

Pollard also suggests taking a self-defense class. Not only will you learn some ways to protect yourself, but those classes also create scenarios so you are thinking about exactly what steps you would take to get out alive.

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