Pulling up to fill your tank is a pretty routine experience. Even at night, the bright bay of lights over the gas pumps makes us feel as though we have enough situational awareness to feel safe. But a certain kind of thief called a “slider” might make you think twice before exiting your vehicle.
Sliders are purse snatchers who wait in their cars at gas pumps. Their primary target is a woman who is in her vehicle alone. Once she pulls up to the adjacent pump, they get to work. As she is preoccupied at the pump, the slider creeps out of their car, ducks over to her car, and surreptitiously enters the woman’s vehicle.
Image Source: newsweek.com
They move fast, grabbing any valuables you may have that they can carry off quickly. The entire episode should only take 10 to 15 seconds. It’s believed that the reason they target women is because of the increase likelihood of a purse being left unattended in the vehicle.
The image above is from a confirmed sliding incident caught on tape, which occurred in Simi Valley, California. Local authorities there say that a few similar thefts have occurred in that area recently.
The perpetrators are still at large. Some area gas stations are responding by increasing or adding attendants who will pump gas for you.
Other areas are working on preventing sliding crimes as well. For instance, police in one Georgia county are creating a special task force. In addition to the average car theft, the task force will focus on apprehending sliders.
With recent police warnings being issued, sliding does seem to be a modern phenomenon. However, sliding isn’t really a new crime, awareness over it just bubbles to the surface periodically.
There also isn’t any current data which supports that sliding is on the rise nationwide; it just happens to be a type of theft that many aren’t aware of. The fact that it can happen in broad daylight is something the average person wouldn’t necessarily suspect, either.
If you don’t want to become a victim of crafty purse snatchers, make a habit of taking your purse with you any time you step out of the car. You can also ensure your doors are locked and windows are rolled up before pumping.
Any measures you take can be effective in stopping theft, as long as it means your belongings aren’t easy to grab. In the end, sliding is more a crime of convenience, rather than aggression.