When Elvie McCormick stopped at a gas station in late September, she couldn’t have known the next minutes of her life would be used as a warning nationwide.
As the Florida woman tells CBS Miami, she’d only had her back turned for three minutes as she filled up on gas.
It was only after she got back into her car that McCormick realized she’d just become a victim of a particularly sneaky brand of thieves who are hitting gas stations across the U.S.:
SPEEDY GAS STATION THIEVES TARGET LADIES’ PURSES AT THE PUMPSIt’s a common crime, but if you blink, you could miss it. That’s how quickly thieves snuck into a victim’s car and grabbed her purse while she pumped gas at a Parkland gas station. The theft occurred on the afternoon of September 26. Security video captured two men arriving in a silver four-door Toyota Camry with dark tinted windows. The thieves pulled up to the gas pump across from the victim’s car and waited. Once the victim was distracted, they crouched down between the two vehicles, opened her driver-side door and quickly pulled out her handbag. They were gone in a matter of seconds.The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact BSO Det. Juan Hierrezuelo at 954-753-5050. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at browardcrimestoppers.org. Anonymous tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.
Posted by Broward Sheriff's Office on Monday, October 17, 2016
In the gas station’s surveillance video, a silver Toyota Camry is seen pulling up right next McCormick’s car at the pump.
As she prepares to fill up, a man is seen slipping out of the Camry, opening her driver-side door, and grabbing her purse — and her personal items, credit cards, phone, and cash along with it.
He then gets back in to his car and speeds away — all in a matter of seconds and in broad daylight.
As McCormick told CBS Miami:
“It was minutes, literally 3 minutes, from my driving in, to them stealing my purse.
It made me feel violated, I guess it’s the word.”
The tactic is so widespread, there’s even a special name for these thieves: “sliders.”
— 24 Salt Lake (@24saltlake) August 15, 2013
It’s no recent phenomenon, either.
There are reported incidents of “sliding” going back for years, many of which target women who are guilty of nothing more than leaving their purse on the front seat as they pump gas:
— The Palm Beach Post (@pbpost) August 13, 2013
Be careful out there. Gas station scam: 'Sliders' come after your pursehttp://t.co/6jQQIui3ck
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) September 13, 2013
For McCormick, it was a habit that many of us have that left her open to this theft: the choice to leave her car doors unlocked while pumping gas, out of fear that she’ll accidentally lock her keys inside her vehicle.
According to police, locking up is just one of a few simple ways to avoid becoming a victim of sliding:
“Keep valuables out of sight, lock your vehicle’s doors when pumping gas and, most of all — pay attention to what’s happening around you.”
While the men who robbed McCormick remain at large — and she says she’d very much “like to catch them” and see them “go to jail” — she’s warning others to follow these simple tips to keep safe.