‘I was alone’: B.C. woman warns others after robber tries to force her to go to ATM

Manj Sidhu-Gill was alone in a parking lot on Jan. 15, when a man approached dressed in all black

An Abbotsford woman has sent out a warning to other women on social media after a man – who claimed to have a knife – tried to rob her by forcing her to a bank ATM.

“If I was a man, I guarantee you he would not have approached me, it’s just because I was female and I was alone,” Manj Sidhu-Gill said. “Ladies, please be safe and if your gut tells you something isn’t right, just listen to it.”

On Jan. 15, as Sidhu-Gill was leaving her job on South Fraser Way and Clearbrook Road around 4:15 p.m., she was approached by a man in the parking lot. She said he was dressed in all black and had the hoodie of his jacket tied around his face.

“I didn’t even think as to why his head was covered because it was freezing cold. I thought he was just trying to stay warm,” Sidhu-Gill said. “I actually thought about offering him my gloves.”

“He said, ‘I’ve got a knife to your back, right here on your kidney.’”

She said the man had his hand pressed to her back and she didn’t know if he actually had a weapon, but she wasn’t taking any chances.

Sidhu-Gill said, at first, he tried to bring her to a nearby RBC but changed course once he saw people inside. He redirected her towards the Coast Capital ATM, as it had closed due to the weather.

“I saw people come out of the Royal Bank. As soon as I saw them, there was no thought process, I just ran, screaming at the top of my lungs: Call 911! He’s got a knife! Call 911!”

She said her efforts caught the attention of the people leaving the RBC and the robber took off.

Abbotsford police are aware of the incident and an investigation is ongoing, according to Sgt. Judy Bird, media officer for the department.

Shortly after the incident, Sidhu-Gill made a post on social media to warn other women about her experience.

She said women shouldn’t become to comfortable in public spaces if they are alone, even if the area is familiar to them.

“I’ve been [working in this complex] for 10 years and I’ve never had something like this happen, so I was just too comfortable,” Sidhu-Gill said. “I was alone, the parking lot was completely empty.”

“There were no cars, none whatsoever. [The surrounding businesses] were all closed. Nobody was there.”

Sidhu-Gill said she’s talked to counsellors who told her she’s handled the situation well, but other might be more damaged by a similar scenario.

“I’m not traumatized by it, I’m not worried, but I will be taking extra precautions now.”

On the evening of Jan. 16, a day after the robbery attempt on Sidhu-Gill, a man was arrested for the attempted robbery of a different woman at a bank ATM in the same area.

Scott Kuebeck, 32, was charged with robbery, disguising his face with intent to commit a crime and possessing a weapon for dangerous purposes.

RELATED: Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

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