FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Unless you have an electric car...you probably find yourself at the gas station at least once a week.
Many of us do other things while pumping gas, like checking our phones, watching the video monitor but if you're not careful you could become an easy target for thieves.
Women are especially vulnerable. In a matter of seconds, a thief can sneak into your car, steal your purse and take off without you even knowing it.
It's called "sliding." Watch as this thief pulls his car right up beside a woman who has just started pumping gas...he gets out...crawls over and opens her driver's side door and grabs her purse. In seconds...he's back in his car and gone.
Fresno Police Sergeant Justin Hoagland says most people are so focused on getting gas or getting a soda, they think they can just run into the gas station and run back and get out of the station without any problems.
Hoagland says thieves especially prey on those who are distracted.
Action News recently observed customers at a North Fresno gas station. Many of the women cautiously looked around before pumping their gas. Customer Georgia Knots told us she puts her purse on the floor and locks her car every single time.
Knots says, "I'm always looking around me, seeing who's around me a lot of homeless people. I'm a little leary."
Sergeant Hoagland says putting up your windows and locking your car should become automatic before you pump. Also, he says, put valuables out of site.
Another customer, Toni Perez, was filling her tank after a long day at work.
Perez says, "I'm cautious about my surroundings but the last thing I think about is my purse. It's more of myself. So, leaving it on the front seat? Yeah, I do it all the time. I probably shouldn't."
One final caution from Sergeant Hoagland to moms with young children. He says unless you are right there watching them, do not leave them in the car. His rule is if your kids are old enough to stay home alone, they are old enough to stay in the car alone. Otherwise, you should take them inside when paying for gas or snacks.
Police warn women about a new technique thieves are using at the gas station called "sliding"