'Sliders' continue targeting women at Houston gas stations

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Surveillance video obtained by Local 2 shows so-called 'sliders' are still a problem at gas stations across the Houston area.

Police said these crooks generally target women who leave their purses in their cars with the doors unlocked while they pump gas.

Video from surveillance cameras at a Shell gas station off the South Loop West at Fannin captured a 'slider' stealing a woman's purse on Monday. The video shows the thief parked his car next to a pump, pretending to be a customer.

The man is then seen on video sneaking past a car parked next to his and walking over to a woman's SUV. The video shows the man peeking inside the woman's SUV before opening the passenger side door, grabbing her purse and running away.

The video shows the woman was next to her car pumping gas on the driver's side during the entire incident and never realized she had been burglarized.

Laura Maple said a similar scenario happened to her while she was pumping gas last Saturday at a station off Buffalo Speedway at Highway 59.

"I had no clue and it happened; you know, maybe 15 seconds," said Maple.

Unfortunately there were no cameras to capture this crime.

"It's just a really terrible thing to happen, especially just before the holidays," said Maple.

Maple said she left her purse on the passenger seat and her 5-year-old son in the backseat while she was pumping gas.

Maple said she had no idea a thief opened her driver's side door to grab her purse until a man parked behind her started yelling.

"The guy who was in the car behind said, 'Ma'am, ma'am someone just went in your car.' And I said, 'What?,'” said Maple.

She said she tried to chase after the man but he was gone too quickly. Police said the only description they have is a white male in a light-colored car, possibly an Acura with a paper license plate.

"It could have been much worse, he could taken off with my car and my child," said Maple.

Maple said the thief got away with her credit cards, ID, cell phone, a new Nintendo portable gaming system and both the keys to her SUV and house. Maple said the crook used her debit card at a nearby gas station within minutes of stealing her purse.

"He took my cell phone so it was hard to alert the credit card companies quickly that my cards had been stolen," said Maple. "Just watch yourself because people are out there preying on women and anyone they can, anyone they think is a target they will target."

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