Call 11 For Action: Protecting you from gas pump prowlers - KCTV5 News

Call 11 For Action: Protecting you from gas pump prowlers

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(Toledo News Now) -

It can happen to anyone. You pull into a gas station and the next thing you know, your purse is gone.  Many women are guilty of putting their purse on the passenger seat to walk into a gas station or use the pump.  Now, police across the country are warning women to be on the lookout. 

They are called 'sliders.'

Surveillance video from different cities across the US show criminals crouching below eye level and quickly opening up the car door, taking what's inside.  Sergeant Heffernan of the Toledo Police Department says, "These are crimes of opportunity. If people see things that are lying out in the car, they're going to take it"

Police say there have been cases of sliding in the Toledo area in the past.  

Tiffany Ortega, who works for the Valero gas station on Monroe Street, says she knows of instances where sliding has occurred and says, "We've actually had an employee that was watching and saw it happen and ran out and tell the woman.  She had no idea. She didn't even hear the car door open."

Ortega says women are constantly letting their guard down at the pump.  She stated, "I tell women you want to keep it on you at all times or know where it is or lock your door at least,"
A few simple tips to protect yourself and your belongings at the pump from the National Crime Prevention Council:

- Pick stations that are well- lit and have video surveillance cameras at the pump.
- Always remove your keys and lock the doors while pumping gas
- Keep valuables out of plain view in your vehicle and lock the doors even if you are going inside for a moment.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Don't let your cell phone distract you

Whether it is sliding or other forms of burglary like it, car break-ins happen over and over again. In the city of Toledo, police tell us there were roughly 2500 car break-ins in 2013. 

Sgt. Heffernan says, "I know we've had about 30 so far to date (as of January 20, 2014) which is pretty good. 

Some of the deterrent techniques we've been using are the cameras, some of the prolific offenders that have been doing this have been caught, and the awareness is out in the community a little bit more."

But Toledo police say there is another type of crime plaguing the area.  It's the theft of tires and rims from vehicles.  Police say thieves will jack up a vehicle and take off the wheels, leaving the car up on blocks.  Sgt. Heffernan says, "that's probably the biggest thing we have going on is the theft of wheels."

Police say they are trying to catch those responsible.

If you have any information on local crimes, call Crimestopper at 419-255-1111.

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.


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