Dallas police are searching for a man who kidnapped a woman at gunpoint and forced her to drive to ATMs in the city's Lower Greenville neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the victim herself is speaking out to warn people not to have the same lapse in judgment that she did.
"Oh my God, is this really happening," Alyse Van Scoy told WMAZ's sister station, WFAA, while recounting her late Friday night/early Saturday morning ordeal.
Shortly after midnight, she left her home to go to a neighborhood Walgreens in the 5700 block of E. Mockingbird Lane. The young mom of twins, with her husband on parenting duty at home, had a brief moment of parental freedom to run a few errands.
But, she was in her husband's new car. And, unlike her own SUV, it was not set to automatically lock when the driver, with their keys in hand, walks away from the vehicle. So when she walked inside the drugstore, the car was inadvertently unlocked in the parking lot.
Her nightmare began when she walked out of the store and got back in the car.
"I got in my car, put my purse in the passenger seat, put it in reverse, and you don't turn around because you have the (backup) camera. I pulled out of the parking lot, started driving, and that's when he grabbed the hood of the sweatshirt I was wearing and put a gun to my head and said drive to the nearest ATM."
She said the man who’d hidden in the backseat, his face hidden under a ski mask, told her "do what you're told or you'll got popped." So, she complied. She drove him to the nearest ATM
"I was petrified. I wasn't sure I'd be able to drive. I didn't know if I was going to faint or, I didn't know what was going to happen," she said.
He demanded she withdraw $500 as if he knew what the ATM limit would be. She said she accidentally hit a "4" on the keypad first and ended up withdrawing $450.
Then he demanded she drive to the next closest ATM, where he demanded she withdraw $500 more. After that, fraud protections and ATM withdrawal limits would not allow her to take out any more.
"I was just horrified. I didn't know what his intentions were or what he was going to do. I had no idea," she said.
Searching for any sense of leniency from the gunman, at one point she said she told him she had two young kids at home, twins just four months old.
"I just said, 'Oh my God, I have two babies.' And I don't even know if I said that out loud," she said.
She said he responded by saying "if you want to see them again, do what I say."
So, in an ordeal that she guesses lasted about 15 minutes, he made her drive around until he demanded to be let out near the corner of Greenville and Monticello. She drove home, unhurt, to alert her husband and to call 911.
Dallas police are reviewing surveillance video from Walgreens, from the banks, and from neighborhood businesses.
Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information in this case. And police are warning people, wherever you live or whatever your sense of safety in your neighborhood, to always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
That's why Alyse said she chose to make the brave choice of going public.
"Lock your cars. Look in the backseat. It can be you, but don't let it be. I hate to feel like you have to lock your doors and look in the back, but it's kind of a lesson learned. Thankfully I'm OK, but just be safe," she said.
You can call Crime Stoppers at: (214) 373-TIPS (8477), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.