Woman survives kidnapping at gunpoint from Wal-Mart parking lot - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Woman survives kidnapping at gunpoint from Wal-Mart parking lot


A teenage woman walking to her car in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Gateway Road in Columbus was caught off-guard by two men who approached her in a casual, non-threatening manner.

She was leaving work just after 11 p.m. Monday night when the strangers asked her for directions.  Before she had a chance to respond, they were already letting their true intentions be known.

"As they got closer, one of them pulled out a small gun, and said give me the keys to your car, and from there it was like, oh my gosh, what is happening here," said Mariah Cook. 

Cook said she had no sooner given up the keys before they forced her into the backseat of her own car, pressing the gun against her leg as they made their demands.   The man who took the wheel parked a short distance away from the lot and the two suspects began to go through her belongings.  

"It was almost like two people bickering about what to order at a restaurant," said Cook. 

According to Cook, the two began arguing about who was going to take what as she sat and watched from the backseat.   After dividing up her possessions, including an iPod and a cell phone, the two decided they had no more use for the woman and they let her go.   She ran away and flagged down the nearest police officer for help.   Wal-Mart management reviewed surveillance video in the parking lot and determined there was a least one more person involved.  A burgundy SUV was seen dropping off the suspects at the store and following closely behind the stolen car as it left the parking lot.  

"They had help.   They knew what they were doing.   They knew what they wanted, and they got it," said Cook. 

She never thought it would happen to her and now Cook has advice for anyone who will be doing holiday shopping this season. 

"Don't walk alone, have someone watch you, and maybe even carpool home.   Maybe don't go as late.   If you like to shop late, if you like to go anywhere late, go sooner in daylight.   Especially with it getting dark at six." 

The two men police are looking for are described as being in their mid 20s with slim builds.  One is about 5'5" and had facial hair, and was wearing dark clothing and a flat bill baseball cap.  The other man was about 6' tall and was wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants. 

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