It’s a scary tactic that seems to be targeting young women in Houston. In the past two days, two women were assaulted at their vehicles and then robbed of their belongings after being asked the time by the suspects.
Police say it’s a distraction tactic, and while they don’t have enough information yet to link these two cases together, they say it’s just one of many ways suspects will try to take advantage during a moment of vulnerability.
The bruises on her face tell only part of the story.
“There’s just so many unanswered questions that I would like to know the answers to," Anna said.
Anna was in Houston for the weekend visiting friends. She came to town for a good time, but instead left with a night she’ll never forget.
“I walked to the car, got my toothbrush and toothpaste, and my friend called me," Anna said.
It was dark, almost 3 a.m. Still on the phone, Anna sat on a curb outside her friend's apartment.
“This guy asked me, 'Hey what time is it?'” Anna said.
She answered, but he asked again.
“As soon as I finished telling him the second time, someone came up from behind me and started punching me," Anna said.
She says a guy she didn’t see knocked her to the ground. The two grabbed her phone with her credit cards and took off.
“That one second that you’re not aware of, like, what you’re doing or who’s around you. Even something so simple as just sitting on a curb, there’s still space behind you on the sidewalks so anybody could walk up," Anna said.
“It’s a distraction in order to take you away from losing sight of your surroundings," Houston Police Officer Barry Curtis said.
Curtis says even when you think it’s OK, you can’t let your guard down.
“People have to use their judgment. It’s a fine line between being compassionate, being a Good Samaritan or a good citizen and not being taken advantage of," Curtis said.
Anna says by the time red flags were being raised, it was too late. She believes the similarities between the two attacks are no mistake.
“Stuff like that doesn’t necessarily happen so much as a coincidence," Anna said.
Anna has to now replace her phone and her credit cards, but she says the worst part is she now will have to have surgery on her shoulder, which was injured when she fell.
If you have any information on these suspects, you are asked to call police.