Keep an eye out for gas station thefts

By: Jessica Willey
By: Jessica Willey

Next time you’re getting gas be sure to pay attention to more than just how much it’s costing you these days. You could end up paying a lot more, as recent Houston surveillance videos show thieves ripping off drivers as they fill up.

It is unbelievable video of just how fast you can become a victim, doing something as routine as pumping gas.

The crimes caught on tape were shown to people at a southwest Houston gas station and their reactions don’t even need words.

There were two separate incidents - one from April 18, 2007, in which within just a few seconds, a thief pulls up, opens the passenger side door, grabs the woman’s purse and is gone. The victim is on her cell phone and has no idea. Another on March 30, 2007 - two women were chatting near the gas tank when another thief calmly steps out, opens the door, takes a purse and takes off.

Houston police call these distraction thefts. They are crimes of opportunity.

“They’ll see you get out - you don’t have your purse, they assume its inside - reach in take it and be gone before you even realize it,” said Sgt. Nate McDuell, with the HPD.

People who saw the video were stunned at how fast these crooks work. Maty Hernandez usually leaves her purse in plain sight, but not anymore.

“Now I’m locking all the doors and be more aware of my surroundings,” Hernandez said.

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