Police asking for help with gas station thefts

Posted at: 08/20/2013 10:41 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A new crime trend is targeting women at the gas pump.

Albuquerque police need your help in finding a man who used a similar technique and got away.

Before you fill ‘er up, are you making it easy for thieves to leave you empty?

We saw some women walking into gas stations, tempting thieves with pocketbooks in plain sight inside their vehicles.

“Yeah that is dangerous," said Roxanne Romero.

APD released a surveillance video from April 26.

A busy gas station’s surveillance camera captured a brazen thief circling the parking lot in broad daylight, looking for an easy target.

The man backed up in a green, grey or silver van and struck within seconds.

In one day, he hit up three gas stations. He snatched a purse at each convenience store, by opening doors or smashing windows

"I'm told an individual reported that they fought back but that the offender still was able to make off personal belongings," said Tasia Martinez, public information officer for APD.

“I've heard stories. You can't leave them cracked because it's easy for them to just reach in and unlock the door to take your car or whatever is inside," said Candice Chavez.

Here are some tips before you get out of your vehicle:

Police say what happened in Albuquerque is similar to a nationwide trend called “sliding.”

Thieves slide below the eye level of the door while unsuspecting victims are pumping gas.

And just like that, your valuables are in their hands.

It’s a lesson learned for Karina Torres who made sure to get her daughter out but left purse and bag inside her unlocked vehicle.

“Yes, I know it is dangerous,” she said.

There’s not a good description of the man or his vehicle.

If you have any information about him, you’re urged to call Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP