'Sliders' caught stealing out of cars at gas stations

Police call it a "crime of opportunity"

TAMPA, Fla. - It can happen in just seconds: You're busy filling up your tank, while a thief is busy taking your valuables right out from under you.

Surveillance video shows the latest trick of the trade for thieves. Police call them "sliders" because of the way they slide between the cars and quickly snatch whatever is on the passenger seat or the floor.

"If the person who is pumping gas is turned away from the car, it's just a perfect opportunity for them to quietly sneak in, grab what they're looking for and make a quick getaway in the cars," said Pinellas Park Police Sgt. Brian Unmisig.

The thieves have been caught on camera all across the country, including here in Tampa. In some of the videos, the drivers realize what happened and chase after the sliders. But often the victims have no idea until it's too late.

Police call it a "crime of opportunity."

They suggest drivers never leave their belongings unattended, even if it is only for a few seconds.

"We want our residents to be aware that the trend is out there and to make themselves a harder target for those type of thieves," Unmisig said.

Police say the best bet is to take your purse or wallet with you to the pump. However, if you must leave it in the car, they recommend locking the doors and storing it out of sight.

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