Slider victim gets quick justice

Sliders look for women who leave their purses in the car

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A quick convergence of circumstances helped police track down and arrest a pair of suspected sliders within 20 minutes of a car burglary.

The burglary happened Monday afternoon at a gas station at the intersection of the 610 Loop and Westheimer.

"I should have been more thoughtful before I left my car unlocked," said Michelle, who asked Local 2 not to use her last name.

Surveillance video from the convenience store showed Michelle pulling up next to a pump with a red car nearby. The video showed when Michelle walked into the store the person driving the red car circled the pumps, pulled up to the passenger side of Michelle's SUV and stopped for only a few seconds. While the camera's view obscured what happened next, Michelle said when she walked back to her SUV her purse, phone and tablet were gone.

Police believe Michelle was the victim of a slider.

Local 2 Investigates first reported on this type of crime on August 5. Police coined the term slider for a certain type of car burglar who stakes out gas stations and day cares, looking for women who leave their purses in the car and doors unlocked. Police said the crooks then crouch down and slide below eye-level as they open a person's car door and quickly grab purses and other belongings.

"A vehicle is not a safe location for your belongings," warned Houston police officer Jim Woods during an interview last week with Local 2.

Woods said many of these crimes happen while a person is standing next to their car. Woods said many victims don't even realize they've been burglarized until after the crooks are gone.

"I have heard now that this was on TV this week, but I didn't see it," said Michelle.

However, Michelle is lucky. After speaking with Local 2 at the gas station Michelle called back to tell us that police not only found her belongings but had arrested two men. According to Michelle, police told her the men suspected of stealing her purse and electronics had driven a few miles away to a gas station along the 610 Loop at Stella Link. Michelle said police told her a customer at that gas station noticed two men sitting in a car going through a woman's purse. Police said that person suspected something was wrong so he dialed 911.

Police said at the time the call for help went out, an undercover detective was in the same area conducting surveillance. Police said the detective heard the call, spotted both men and followed them until patrol officers arrived and arrested the pair. Police said the car the men were driving was stolen. Police said in addition to findings Michelle's belongings they also found cash and jewelry in the car. Investigators are now working to determine if those items are linked to other crimes.

Marques Coleman, 29, and 19-year-old Roy Johnson were arrested Monday. 

Coleman is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, while Johnson faces a burglary of a motor vehicle charge.

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