HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Eighteen-year-old Rubi Sandoval wasn't sure what would happen Tuesday when a man pointed a gun at her and told her to give him everything she had. "I was very scared," she said.
Rubi was just getting out of a car at the parking deck at Valley Hills Mall when she says a stranger approached her and asked if she had a boyfriend. She said "yes," and the man pulled out a handgun and pointed it at her.
After looking through the car to see what he could take, the man forced her to drive to an ATM just a few hundred yards away. Rubi says he told her to park on the side and to get out and get some money, but that he also gave her a warning: "If you run I will shoot you."
Rubi says she tried to calm the man down by striking up a conversation, and believes it did help. "He still had the gun in his hand, but he stopped pointing it at me," she said.
She says the man talked briefly about meeting some friends, and about his family. After she withdrew money from the ATM and gave it to him, the man did something she didn't expect. She said, "He kissed me and said I was beautiful."
Rubi says she didn't push back because he still had the weapon. But as soon as the man jumped out of the car and ran off, she drove to a safe location and called 911. Police arrived in minutes but could not find the man. They were still following leads Wednesday evening.
It turns out that just minutes before Rubi was confronted, a man and a woman say they were approached in a nearby parking lot by a man who tried to rob them. They didn't have any money, so the man left.
Police believe the same man was involved in both incidents. He is described as a tall and slender black male with dreadlocks, possibly in his 20s.
Rubi says she feels lucky to have escaped unharmed, and hopes the guy is caught before he commits another crime.