Police are warning people to be on the lookout for new types of thieves called sliders who are targeting women at gas stations across the country.
These so-called sliders pull up next to a car while it's at the pump. Then, as the driver is preoccupied either pumping or paying for their gas, the slider brazenly sneaks over, opens the passenger door, and swipes whatever's in plain sight.
"They say it's sliding because they're sliding below the eye level of the door," Houston police officer Jim Woods told Click2Houston.com.
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Often, women leave their handbag or pocketbook unprotected on the front passenger seat while at the gas station — in a prime spot for a slider to swoop in and steal it. Most victims don't even realize until after the thief is driving away that their belongings have been stolen.
Sliders have been spotted across the country, from Houston to Miami to Washington. Woods said there has been an uptick in "sliding" over the last three years as crooks realize that it is oftentimes more profitable than stealing a car.
"This appears to be a stealth crime of opportunity and the best way to protect yourself from a crime of opportunity is to remove the opportunity," Major Robert Ryan of the Cranston Police Department in Rhode Island told WPRI.com.
Police encourage people to lock their car doors even when pumping gas, and to have their valuables with them at all times.
"Your vehicle is not a secure location for your belongings," Woods said.
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