DES MOINES, Iowa — April 26th started out as a normal workday for nurse Jackie Hartman. She left her house a little after five am and stopped to get gas at a Des Moines convenience store.
“I saw two guys walking away from the store and one had a medical mask on,” she says, “which today is not odd, so I didn’t think anything of it.”
Jackie pumped her gas and then walked to the store – only to discover the doors were locked. It was closed for cleaning because of COVID-19. She’ll never forget what happened when she returned to her car.
“The guys were standing here and I saw the gun at his side and he said, ‘I want all your money,'” Hartman recalled.
Surveillance video shows the men walking around the store and parking lot before Jackie pulls in. Sgt. Paul Parizek says it sounds like Jackie wasn’t their only victim. “We’ve got another case that happened just a few hours before on the west side,” he says, “they tried to rob a homeless person of what little he may have had.”
Police say right now they don’t have a lot of evidence in either case, but Jackie did the right thing by handing over her purse. “Typically a convenience store is a really safe place to be. There’s nothing she could’ve done differently.”
Jackie wants everyone to think twice before pulling into an empty parking lot. “Before now I was not aware of my surroundings in situations like that. I just want other people to know, not to pull up to a place that doesn’t have any other cars because you’re a sitting duck.”