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'Slider' thieves targeting North County drivers at the pump

Posted at 5:58 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 21:10:25-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — A warning tonight from a North County driver: thieves may be watching you at the gas pump.

"Very much a sense of violation," said Kelly.

On Tuesday around 5:30 p.m., she was at the Shell gas station on Del Lago Blvd., standing at an outer pump.

"Got the gas pump started. Was only getting a little bit. Turned around and was watching the pump. Got the receipt after I was done and walked around to get to the back to my car, and saw a car parked next to me. The door had just closed," said Kelly.

Kelly says she saw a newer-model, black sedan with tinted windows drive off in a hurry, leaving her with a sinking feeling. A look in her car confirmed it. The purse she had left on the passenger floor was gone — in about 34 seconds at the pump.

"You never think it can happen to you, and it happens so quick," said Kelly.

When she filed a police report, the officer told her the theft was the second such theft that day. In the past few years, 10News has reported on "sliders" in action. Surveillance video from across Southern California shows thieves pulling up, and while the driver is distracted, they sneak toward the car and steal valuables. Experts say the thieves usually target women — and their purses.

Kelly says she usually locks the doors at the pump, but just didn't do it that night.

"It's scary because you don't notice it. It happens so fast," said Kelly.

10news reached out to Escondido Police for any surveillance video and to confirm whether there have been multiple cases of this kind of theft, and are waiting to hear back.