An increasingly common form of theft has been occurring at gas stations around the country (video below). The thieves are called “sliders,” and they steal purses and other valuables from vehicles while the driver is busy pumping gas.
“Most of the time, gas station customers leave their car doors unlocked and items like purses and wallets are often left in plain view,” explains the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). “A thief is able to drive up next to the victim's car, open an unlocked door, and grab any valuables within reach. Then, the thief quickly drives off. It happens in a matter of seconds.”
As Houston police officer Jim Woods notes, “It's 'sliding' because they're sliding below the eye level of the door…. They're not looking for a confrontation. They just want your property because they know that it's left abandoned and you're not paying attention.”
As the gas station surveillance camera shows in the video below, a while a customer is pumping gas with her back turned away from her car, the driver of another car pulls up and “slides” into the passenger side door of the woman’s car, grabs her purse, and then drives off -- all in a matter of seconds.
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The NCPC says these thefts are easily preventable, and offers the following tips:
- Pick stations that are well-lit and have video surveillance cameras at the pump.
- Always remove your keys and lock the doors while you are pumping gas.
- Keep valuables out of plain view in your vehicle and lock the doors even if you are going inside for a moment.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Don’t let your cell phone distract you.