SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Police are warning gas station customers in one California city to be on the lookout for thieves who have recently been taking wallets and purses from people’s vehicles as they were pumping gas.
One of the incidents occurred in Simi Valley, in the greater Los Angeles area, and two others occurred in nearby communities, the Simi Valley Police Department stated in a news release issued last week.
The thieves are targeting women who are alone and get out of their vehicles to pump gas.
Surveillance video provided by the police department of a past "sliding" incident shows a thief pulling up to a pump next to his victim’s vehicle.
The thief then exits his car and opens the victim's door while the driver is distracted at the pump. He is seen taking something from inside the vehicle and then returning quickly to his car before driving away.
The crime is called “sliding” because the thief slides below the eye level of the vehicle door to commit the thefts, the police department stated.
Authorities reminded drivers to remove their keys, close the window and lock their car doors when stopping to pump gas.