Police warn women of latest purse snatching tactics

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It's known as sliding because in a matter of seconds thieves are gone with your belongings (KTRK)

You grab your credit card to pump gas, and where do you leave your wallet, purse, or phone?

If you answered on the passenger seat or floorboard, you aren't alone.

The problem lies in that your possessions are completely accessible to thieves, and they are watching. Many local women have been victims of the purse snatching crime are known as sliding.

"While you're preoccupied at the gas pumps at the gas stations, pumping your gas , they slide below the eye level of the door, and they turn around and take your property," said Houston police officer Jim Woods.

From January through May of 2014, Houston police data includes more than 150 car burglaries at gas stations around town. SEE MAP

One of those victims was Rose Cardenas. She was alone when it happened to her and lost a designer handbag with her wallet and cash inside, as well as peace of mind.

"They had come in, from the passenger side, while I was pumping, opened the door, slid in, took my purse and left," Cardenas said. "In an instant, you can be a victim of crime."

Han Nguyen is another sliding victim. Her iPad and purse were stolen, along with hundreds of dollars of cash.

"I put my purse right in the middle right here. So it's easy for him to reach in and grab it. So it's my mistake," Nguyen said.

When at the gas pump, police urge you to keep your purse or wallet with you and lock your doors when you get out of the car. Also, be alert and keep an eye on what's going on around you.

Police say they can't always rely on gas station surveillance video.

"If the video is poor quality, we have nothing to work with. Even if we have decent quality video, it now becomes, well, who is this person? How do we identify who this person is?" Woods said.

Those thieves are on the lookout and know what to look for, police say.

"With women, if they get out of that car and they don't see that purse, they know where the valuables are now," Woods said.

In a matter of seconds, they are gone with your belongings.

"Women need to know that just because you feel safe doesn't mean you are safe," Woods said.

The crime is a misdemeanor, unless your stolen items are more than $1,500.

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