Shoppers may breathe a little easier at the Westfield Shopping Center in Wheaton after authorities made an arrest in connection with three kidnappings and carjackings that occurred there in the past week. But some shoppers there say they're still nervous around the mall's parking lot.
Henry Sanders, 50, of Landover, Md. was arrested Tuesday in connection with the attacks on three senior citizens that happened over Thanksgiving weekend. In total, Sanders is facing charges connected to five crimes over 10 days, according to a Washington Post report. Sanders has a long criminal record, and allegedly committed the most recent robberies while out on bond for a robbery earlier this month.
Although police have made an arrest, some shoppers at the Wheaton Westfield mall say they still don’t feel safe.
"[I] would never come here at night," says Joan Sligh, who's walking to her car in the mall's parking lot Tuesday. She was shocked to learn that the suspect targeted the elderly.
"It's sad because you think it must be people that are very desperate," she says. "Not that I feel for them, but it's just sad that the community comes to that, to target those that are the weakest."
Elizabeth Boyle shops at the center about twice a week.
"A number of years ago there was a shooting at this mall during the Christmas season. And so I’ve always wondered if they just need to up security?," says Boyle.
In a press conference announcing the arrest Wednesday, Montgomery County police said it's too early in the investigation to tell if similar instances of carjackings can be connected to Sanders. They warn the public to stay vigilant when shopping this holiday season.