Police Warn Drivers About Gas Station Thefts

Prince George's County Police are warning drivers -- particularly women -- about a series of gas station thefts that many victims don't notice until it's too late

Thieves went on a rampage two weeks ago, stealing purses from unsuspecting women while they were pumping gas at a Bowie, Md. station.

While the victim is pumping gas, the suspect opens the door on the unattended side of the vehicle and steals their purse. Police say the crimes happened at the Safeway gas station on Fairwood Parkway.

According to surveillance video from the gas station, the crime only takes a few seconds, and the thieves are gone before the victim turns back around. 

Police are still looking for the suspects.

Officers will be out in the Bowie area Monday to post flyers and warn drivers about the thefts.

Similar thefts have been reported from Houston to Miami. Back in August, NBC's national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen reported on the crime trend that police called "sliding" because the crooks slide below the eye level of the vehicle's door to commit the thefts. 

Here are some tips police say you should keep in mind when getting your gas:

  • Pick well-lit stations equipped with surveillance cameras
  • Remove your keys and lock the doors while pumping gas
  • Keep valuables out of view and lock the doors
  • Pay attention to your surroundings
  • Don't let your cell phone distract you
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