Greater Taichung police yesterday said they have identified two men suspected of abducting a woman at a parking lot of a local department store on Thursday and robbing her of NT$18,000 in cash and using her credit cards to buy gold necklaces worth about NT$200,000.
The abduction occurred as the 49-year-old woman was walking toward her car in a parking lot beneath the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store, the police said.
Two men forced the woman into her car, whereupon they allegedly took NT$18,000 in cash from her bag, and told her to give them NT$500,000 or they would strip her naked and take photographs of her, police said.
The victim talked the robbers into using her credit card to buy three gold necklaces valued at more than NT$200,000 at a jewelry store.
Police said the suspects drove around the city for 30 minutes before stopping at the store.
Jewelry store employees told police that a man came in and said he was looking for jewelry worth about NT$200,000.
The man then brought a woman into the store, an employee said, adding that they were walking hand-in-hand and looked like a couple.
Police said the woman reportedly tried to ask for help by writing: “I am being robbed, please report it” on a customer survey form, but the staff did not discover the message in time.
As the two went out of the store, the woman asked to use the toilet and then ran into the store, the police said, adding that the suspect quickly hailed a taxi and fled.
Based on the victim’s description, a man surnamed Liu (劉) and his cousin, surnamed Wen (溫), from Changhua County, were identified as possible suspects, but a search of Liu’s home revealed that they had already fled, the police said.
Greater Taichung police officer Shih Ming-chih (施明志) said basement parking lots often have many concrete pillars, which are potential blind spots in which suspects can hide before forcing themselves into people’s cars.
Saying that some shopping malls have designated women priority parting spaces near entrances and exits and placed them under surveillance, he suggested that female drivers park in those places whenever possible.
Meanwhile, the department store said it has now stationed security personnel in its parking lots, adding that it also provides a service where customers can ask to be accompanied to their vehicles.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng, Tang Tsai-hsin and CNA