While victims are pumping gas, "sliders" steal their valuables

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 8/16/2013 6:19 am
While we are filling up at the pump, "sliders" are filling their wallets at our expense.

Sliding is a technique thieves are using to steal valuables from cars at gas pumps. They slide down below eye level and into the car while we're not looking.

Amanda Johnson had no idea about sliding.

"It's crazy," she said. Crazy, but a serious crime becoming more and more common.

LPD Sergeant Jason Lewis said, "I think maybe it has become an epidemic."

However, according to Lewis, it is not yet common in Lubbock.

Kat Anderson with the South Plains Auto Theft Taskforce said, "It has been all over the internet, and it has been all over, of course, the news. So eventually we will have some try it here. I'm surprised they haven't already."

Sliders tend to target females.

They can hit up your vehicle two different ways. First, while you are busy filling up your tank, a slider will pull up to the passenger side of your car, slide down below your line-of-sight, open your passenger door and snatch-up your purse.

"All within seconds," Anderson said.

Second, if you are in an SUV with the windows down, the slider will simply climb through your window and grab your stuff.

We asked around to see how people react upon learning about sliding.

Heather Oneil understood why it tends to work.

"If you are on the other side pumping gas you are really not going to hear that," she said.

Linda Key said she typically locks her doors when she pumps gas. However, she also can see how they get away with it.

"They are very sneaky to get down low when you are not paying attention," she said. "A lot of the time you aren't thinking of that. Maybe you are watching the kids in the car or the grandkids, or watching the gas prices on the gas tank as they go up."

The obvious thing to do is to lock your car.

"They can spend a lot of your money before you get it stopped," Anderson said. "We've got to start thinking like a thief. I cannot stress that enough."

Lewis said, "People have to take extra steps, which is a pain in the rear, and most people won't do it because it is a pain in the rear."

He said there have not been any reports of sliding in Lubbock, but "apple picking" is a different story. It's a term for cell phone theft, based on the fact Apple iPhones are a popular target. More than a dozen cases of apple picking were reported in July.
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