An old crime is rearing its ugly head at the gas pumps again; a crime that can easily be prevented with knowledge and forethought.
All summer various news sources all over the country have been warning women about “the sliders.” But the crime continues to occur and the target goes beyond just women.
This particular brand of criminal is called a “slider” because he slides into your car at gas stations for various reasons. There are several variations of the crime but all involve theft.
Some sliders are after women’s purses and target women at the pump. First they drive by their potential victims to verify they are alone with no one else in the vehicle. Next, they wait until a pump adjacent to the victim’s car becomes available, and this is where they pull in as if to purchase gas as well. Instead of reaching for the pump, however, the slider slinks to the passenger side of the victim’s car, carefully opens it and steals the purse left (almost always) on the passenger side seat or floorboard (where it is presumably “hidden”). The victim is focused on the pump or on their cell phone catching up on social media and the noise around the busy pump area muffles any noise that might alert her to the criminal stealing her purse right under her nose.
But not so widely reported is that this isn’t a crime strictly perpetrated on women. Many men have fallen victim to this even though they don’t have a purse. Laptops, briefcases (with wallets inside) and other valuables can be just as easily stolen in the same way.
Another variation of the same type of crime leaves drivers stranded at the pump with nothing left at all.
In this scenario there are two or more sliders working together. The victim is distracted by slider #1, who asks for directions or a handout of some type. The distractor lures the victim a little ways from his vehicle and slider #2 slides into the driver’s seat (sometimes entering the car from the passenger’s side) and because most of us leave our keys in the ignition while we pump gas are able to start the car and steal it before the victim realizes he has been scammed.
Both of these are simply crimes of opportunity. Crimes, however, these victims do not deserve, but sometimes may invite, by leaving doors unlocked and leaving keys in ignitions. Prevention can be as easy as locking vehicle doors when pumping gas and putting the car keys in a pocket until departure.