Looking out for 'sliders'

It is a crime that's sweeping the country, and area police fear it could happen here, if it hasn't already.

The local gas station has become the preferred choice for sliders.

They are not driving through for a hot burger but, rather, the cold hard cash sitting in your car.

“They're looking for women alone, who are pre-occupied with their backs to the vehicles, they're facing the gas pump,” said Lt. Cindy Kilgore, the coordinator for Michiana Crime Stoppers. “These people are pulling their cars up to the passenger side of these vehicles, ducking down, and that's where the term "sliding" comes in...they're trying to stay low, below the door frame, so as not to be detected by the woman. They're checking for an open door and grabbing what they can often find of value, a purse or anything of value in the front seat.”

They slide back into their car and make a quick getaway with the victim often not realizing someone has grabbed their purse until it is too late.

That is why the first rule is to never leave your purse in plain sight.

“Stuff it under your seat,” said Kilgore. “I mean if someone has time to rummage through your car, they might realize it's there. But what the sliding is about is quick in and quick out. Keep your doors locked, especially when you're walking away from your car to go up and pay, if that's what you do, if go to pay inside. But even when you're right there, just be aware this can happen in seconds and they are gone before you even know it.”

And while these cases primarily occur at the gas pump, Kilgore fears the sliders will branch out to other locations.

“I look for this to become more popular in other areas where women are pre-occupied and vulnerable,” Kilgore added. “And that would be places like child care centers, where they're unloading a child perhaps in arms and maybe leaving their purse in their car, maybe even running up to the door of the child care center where they don't think they to be worried about locking their car.”

And while it doesn't involve a vehicle, she says a type of sliding that has been happening for years occurs at the grocery store.

Women having their purses snatched from their grocery cart while they walk over to pick out a can of peas or a melon.

Kilgore says that the holidays mean more opportunities for crooks to take advantage of you.

She says to be even more vigilant over the holidays.

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