HOUSTON, Texas — Houston police want people to be aware of "sliders," who are basically thieves that are creeping up on the side of people's vehicles to steal belongings on the passenger seats.
It only takes a few seconds for sliders to slip into your vehicle, whether you are still inside or not.
The type of theft is typically seen at gas stations where victims may be distracted.
“They just slide right in, get the product they’re looking for, anything of value,” said Det. Jeff Brieden with the Houston Police Department Robbery Division. "And then they're gone that quickly.”
Brieden said it’s even happened to his own sister.
"She had her gun in the center console and didn’t notice that it was gone until she got home," said Brieden. "And the farthest she ever got from her vehicle was while getting gas.”
He told us the same type of criminal can creep up anywhere. Take for example this video recently shared by HPD showing a "slider" robbing a woman at a shopping center on Hillcroft.
An SUV lurks in the parking lot before a suspect jumps out and bear crawls to a woman's vehicle while she was still inside. The suspect then opens the passenger door and jerks the woman's purse away, even though she was holding a strap.
The suspect then jumps back into the SUV, which gets away in a matter of seconds.
"The biggest difference with women versus men, and not speaking for all of them, but, for many, is that they carry purses,” said Brieden.
“I’ve never heard of a slider until just now,” said shopper Taylor Nolan.
Nolan was unfamiliar with the slang term but said she does exactly what police suggest when it comes to protecting her purse.
“I mean, I just keep my bag on at all times. Even when I’m pumping gas,” she said.
Nolan also said she keeps her purse close while in her car.
“I always have my bag either under my driver’s seat or next to me," she said. "I never just leave it in the passenger seat.”
Brieden said you should imagine in your head that somebody’s always watching you.
And, if you’re still in the car when a “slider” slips in, he said another tip is to lay on the horn.
“I mean, because the biggest thing that crooks don’t like is attention," said Brieden. "And then what does attention do? It brings witnesses and people now are looking right at you.”
Another obvious tip, and one you may not think of at a gas station, is to keep your doors locked.