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Mugging at ATM in suburban West Palm Beach caught on camera

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Posted at 3:12 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 19:14:37-04

A masked man terrified a woman attempting to use an ATM in suburban West Palm Beach early Tuesday morning.

It happened just after 2 a.m. in the 5800 block of Okeechobee Boulevard in suburban West Palm Beach.

Investigators say the suspect put the victim in a bear hug and chokehold.

After robbing her he took off in an unknown direction, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect is described as white and was wearing a long light-colored shirt underneath a black shirt, black pants, a black mask and gloves.

We showed the surveillance video to Steve Shepherd, a kickboxing champion and self defense instructor.

He said there are ways to get out of an attacker's grip if you're ever in a similar situation.

"He's protecting his face from the back of her head-- but everything else is wide open," he said, after seeing images of the surveillance video.

Shepherd said if you're ever in a situation like this, you need to elbow the attacker in the liver which is on the right side of the body. He also suggested reaching back and hitting the person in the groin.

If you're facing an attacker and they have a chokehold on you, Shepherd said to hit them in the face targeting the nose or the eyes.

"Anywhere on the face.. especially if someone has grabbed you from behind-- use the back of your head," he said.

He said self defense techniques come naturally once you learn them.

"You just need to know what weapons you have at your use."

Police have additional advice. If you're ever in a situation with an attacker, police urge you to yell as loud as you can to draw attention to yourself. Then, run away as fast as possible once you escape the grip of an attacker.

Police also urge you to avoid using ATMs at night. If you must use an ATM, try to find one located inside a business with other people or use the drive-thru ATM. Always check your surroundings, too.

Anyone with information on the crime is urged to call Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

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