A look ahead: Gas station sliders rob you at the pump - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Thieves sliding into cars, stealing valuable while drivers pump gas

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In a new crime trend, thieves target women as they pump gasoline. In a new crime trend, thieves target women as they pump gasoline.
Police say they crime takes seconds to pull off. Police say they crime takes seconds to pull off.
Jenny Lane-Watson's 2-year-old sat in the back seat as she filled up. Jenny Lane-Watson's 2-year-old sat in the back seat as she filled up.
Southaven Police Detective Mark Little has seen an uptick in the so-called sliders. Southaven Police Detective Mark Little has seen an uptick in the so-called sliders.

(WMC-TV) - In a new crime trend, thieves target women as they pump gasoline.

Jenny Lane-Watson's 2-year-old sat in the back seat as she filled up on Highway 51 in Southaven while talking on the phone with her husband.

"I was standing at the pump finishing everything up, and he started to scream. That was the only way I knew I was robbed," said Lane-Watson.

She never saw a stranger reach into the car but her son did.

"He said, and I'll say it the exact same way he said it, he goes 'Ma, some man took your purse,' " she said. "My purse, like always, is usually on my passenger seat."

Surveillance video from around the country reveals suspects are sliding up besides cars and quietly grabbing valuables.

Southaven Police Detective Mark Little has seen an uptick in the so-called sliders. He says investigators cannot rely on gas station surveillance cameras to solve the crime.

"Normally you can't see tags; you can't see faces and stuff," he said. "You can substantiate what happened, but you can't really determine who it was that did it."

Sliders have been spotted in Shelby, Crittenden, and DeSoto counties. Officials cannot know how often the crime happens because it is classified as an auto-burglary, which is defined as something stolen from the inside of a car.

Police caught Lane-Watson's suspects in the act, because authorities conducted a sting after the sliders previously hit the pumps at the Sam's Club on Goodman Road and a gas station on Highway 51.

A short foot chase ensued and then the suspects were arrested. Most victims do not notice they have been robbed by sliders until a while after the crime because of their stealth.

"The police were right across the street watching it happen," said Lane-Watson, who now calls her son a hero. "I can't believe he was smart enough to tell me and that he was actually paying attention, and I wasn't, which is what's so bad and so embarrassing ... They could have taken my child, and that would obviously scare anybody into never doing that again."

Lane-Watson and authorities say drivers need to stay on alert, keep the wallet or purse out of sight, and lock the car when pumping gas.

"Don't do like the rest of us and just lean on your car and watch the gas pump off the dollar signs, you know, pay attention to your surroundings," said Little.

Little says that auto-burglaries in Southaven involving sliders tend to happen closer on the Stateline Road corridor.

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