Because a sidewalk ran right next to the pawn shop, it was a relatively common occurrence for the two employees to see pedestrians walking by the store. So it had to be something entirely out of the ordinary that caught their eye on that fateful Monday morning.
For instance, as Cantu and Vallado worked, a woman was walking to her own job in broad daylight. And as she made her way down the sidewalk – the one that passed right by the pawn shop – a man whom she didn’t know apparently accosted her.
On the face of it, the man’s intentions seemed clear when he allegedly asked her for her phone number. But the woman declined to give it. “I don’t know if it was a sixth sense, but something told her she didn’t want to interact with this individual,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley later recounted.