Bank customers being followed, robbed in Alameda

Alameda police are warning residents to be on alert after a series of robberies in which victims were confronted at home after visiting the bank.

"We have had some people that have gone to banks, left, and unfortunately been robbed," said Jeanette Thompson, an Alameda police spokeswoman. 

Police in the normally peaceful island city are urging residents to be careful.

"Be cognizant of your surroundings. Pay attention to what's going on, not to focus necessarily on your phone and other things," Thompson said.

The most recent robbery happened last Thursday at a home on Bay Farm Island. A woman was in her garage after a visit to the bank.  Two men came up to her, pushed her down and stole her purse and cell phone.

The men drove off and were last seen near Kofman Parkway and Aughinbaugh Way.

The first incident happened back in May.

"We don't know if in fact these incidents are all related," Thompson said,

Alameda police aren't saying whether the victims went into bank branches or stopped by ATMs. They're also not disclosing which banks were involved.

"It's more imperative that the public is aware that the Alameda Police Department wants people to be aware of their surroundings, wherever they are in their daily activities," Thompson said.

But what's clear is that the robbers didn't want to risk getting caught right outside banks, where there are surveillance cameras.

Police say anyone who believes they're being followed should immediately call police - and consider not going home.

"Anytime you feel unsafe or you feel as though you're being followed, it is the best thing to do is call 911. Driving home is not the recommended protocol," Thompson said.