Ballsy Armed Robbery Sunday Afternoon at North Dallas Costco: No Injuries, Lots of Freaked Out Shoppers

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If you live in North Dallas, you have probably been to the “new” Costco on Churchill Road, the one built on vacant land edging LBJ, Coit Road, and North Central Expressway. The one built with $3 million of our taxpayer dollars.  I was there Saturday afternoon, in fact, and ran into many friends.

On Sunday afternoon,  robbers armed with a gun and pickaxe shattered the jewelry cases (which are towards the front of the store) and stole jewelry. The three men apparently forced their way into the warehouse club store at about 3 p.m. Sunday, got the jewelry, terrorized shoppers, then fled in a car, likely onto North Central Expressway or LBJ.

Great for a Costco (and us), to be so near those thoroughfares. Even better for crooks.

In talking and reading about this experience, which was absolutely terrorizing for the people inside shopping as well as employees, I am wondering about Costco’s “15-second door delay.” Is that to deter shoplifting? Apparently, when gunshots were fired, people fled the store. But some at the front door main entrance couldn’t get out for 15 seconds. 15 seconds is not a lot of time, but when a robber has a gun, it is an ETERNITY.

Others were hiding in bathrooms or getting out backdoors. At the time of the robbery Adam Vanek, National General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretaryfor the Susan G. Komen Foundation, was shopping with his wife and two of their four children — one 3 years, one 17 months. 

“We were at the check-out line furthest from the front door,” says Adam. “As our receipt was being printed, we heard people scream. Then there was this wave of people running towards us, some dropping behind counters. Then someone hit an alarm, which was LOUD. Everybody, including employees, went rushing out the back doors or whatever door they could.”

Not knowing what was happening inside or out, Adam grabbed his wife and children and got them into a nearby bathroom, which was also near an emergency exit. They left their shopping cart, even his wife’s purse. The entire store was cleared out in about 90 seconds, says Adam.

“We knew the activity was up towards the front. I never heard a gunshot. But I did hear someone scream, “gun!” That panic alarm was pretty loud, loud enough to muffle a shot,” says Adam.

What was a little disconcerting, though, said Adam: There was no PA announcement of when it was safe to come back into the store.

People watched and waited outside to see what the fleeing employees were doing. A lot of customers left via the back entrance, many literally climbing the fence to get away from the building. He also saw customers two blocks down the street from the store on cell phones. His wife was totally freaked, and Adam was shaking, once the adrenaline rush subsided. His wife couldn’t sleep Sunday night.

“What happened yesterday,” said Adam, “doesn’t happen at the Costco in Frisco or Plano.”

Another friend who was four feet away from the gunman described the scenario on her Facebook page:

COSTCO ARMED ROBBERY TODAY FOUR FEET IN FRONT OF MY SHOPPING CART! Life and death, grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon in Texas….. Around 2:30 today as my son and I were leaving Costco, I was on the phone with a friend. My cart was 4 feet from the jewelry case in the photo below. I noticed a very oddly dressed man walk quickly past my left. I commented to my friend those are the wildest pants I have ever seen. Then I noticed his bright orange hoodie pulled low, a fabric mask over his lower face, headband and glasses and his hand over his crotch… like the naive fool that I am I told my friend “I think he has a gun”. The man in the orange hoodie turned and looked straight in my face and then pulled a gun out and paused… I thought my God he is going to shoot me in the chest?  Then he then started shooting. On my right a man pulled out a pick axe and slammed the jewelry counter at the same time. I flipped around and grabbed my son and screamed run, run, run now, run! We ran to the exit and people were ahead of us trying to get out the doors. Costco had a sign on the doors that said 15 second delay…. (incredibly stupid.. do you realize how long 15 seconds are in this situation?) Then the doors opened and we ran out. As I looked behind me I saw a confused older couple trying to get out. I went back into the store to help the people out. Then it was over. Then a Costco employee said Ma’am were you at the robbery and I said yes. He said yes, we saw you next to it. He asked me to to speak with the police and I did, two statements, in detail. Afterwards I checked out in a fog…

I checked with the North Dallas store, who sent me to their regional office, for more information on the robbery and door delay. No one is commenting at this time, neither the store nor management:

“We can not comment at this time,” said a spokeswoman at Costco’s regional office: 972.246.3007. “The investigation is ongoing, but we are taking steps to keep our stores and everyone more secure.”

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Lindsay Blanton says

    ““What happened yesterday,” said Adam, “doesn’t happen at the Costco in Frisco or Plano.”

    Oh for crying out loud Adam. Heaven forbid you have to, gasp!, traipse down to the slums of the City of Dallas to get your 55 gallon drum of green olives and bag of 24 avocados from the burbs…

    Where is the roll-my-eyes emoji ?

    • mmCandy Evans says

      Well I thought the same thing since that is where we had to go previously. None of us mind “traipsing down to the slums” which I think means shopping in the city of Dallas. But I do mind worrying about getting killed when I shop. I told my daughter to stop going to Sams on NW Highway because of the crime, and now this. I am mulling having us sponsor a crime panel and bring experts together to talk about rising crime in North Dallas and how we can stop this. We want to feel safe in our homes, but safety also means being able to go shopping and to the nail salon and drug store.Roll your eyes, but this kind of news sends home buyers elsewhere.

    • LonestarBabs says

      It’s only a matter of time before this DOES happen at the Costco in Frisco or Plano. To think it can’t is just…myopic. Weird stuff is happening everywhere.
      Wait — there is a bag of 24 avocados????

      • mmCandy Evans says

        They have more police, better-paid police. Remember the last 20 years of Dallas leadership has left us with 3/1000 3 officers for every 1000 citizens. That’s why crime is creeping up.

        • Edris Thomas says

          We live not far from this Costco (Valley View/Temple Shalom) and it is very unsettling. However, I must agree with all of you.

          Criminals have become so brazen in and our area. Our neighborhood definitely has experienced a surge in crime. It can happen in the suburbs. Robbers in loud colored pants might not boldly enter a Costco on a Sunday afternoon with guns but the amount of drug use/trafficking, suicides, domestic abuse, white collar crimes that happen in Plano def does not suggest it is a sleepy town either. Crime is crime and some just cleaned up and hidden better. But, that brings me to Candy’s point……why do we only have a few thousand police and what is this a result of because as we all know, it is almost impossible to attract and convince suburbanites that Dallas is a great place to live if there is potential to be held up at gunpoint on a leisurely Sunday afternoon while purchasing that bag of 24 avocados. What is the solution Candy? This is why we desperately needed you Candy Evans?!

        • Dr. Timothy B. Jones says

          You hit the nail on the head Candy! There is a cost of our city not being able to fill our open police officer positions! It’s not just the long response times but the quantity and severity of crime in the city! Our police need ours and city leaderships help and support! Add to it our horrible streets and I can’t figure out why we keep sending the same folks to city hall.

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