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Think you’re being robbed now at gas pump? Real thieves could strike

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gasNEWCASTLE, Wash. — The next time you pump gas, you might want to keep an eye out. Police say thieves are targeting women, stealing purses from their cars while they’re at the pump.

Elle Barksdale just saw video of a burglary at a gas station, while the victim was just a few feet away.

“It actually shocked me, because I saw the guy creep out of one car and go into the back car. That’s crazy. Who does that?”

According to police, a lot more people are doing it. That’s why the Newcastle Police Department sent out a community alert Monday.

“We heard that these crimes occurred in the area, and wanted people to be aware,” Police Chief Melinda Irvine said Tuesday. “It’s a good safety tip, no matter where you are.”

Allison Lovell says she never thought she’d be vulnerable, standing by her car.

“A gas station is a really public place,” she says. “It’s scary that people feel comfortable to do that in such a public place when there are typically other people around.”

Police say to avoid becoming a victim, there are simple things you can do. Be aware of your surroundings, use pumps that are well-lit or near an attendant, and lock your doors while you’re at the gas pump.

“It keeps people from getting into the other side of the car,” says Irvine.

Even though Barksdale just heard about the warning, she hasn’t changed her habits yet.

“My door is unlocked right now, my purse is sitting right there,” she admits. “But I won’t do it again after this interview, I definitely won’t.”

Lovell is also going to be more careful.

“I should definitely start locking my car.  Sometimes I have my son in the car with me. I don’t want anyone to take my son, so I’m definitely going to start locking my doors.”

Police say it’s not one gas station or area where this is happening. There have been cases on the Eastside, as well as cases in Burien. Although most involved women leaving purses on their passenger side, police say men should also be careful about leaving their wallets, briefcases or computers in the open.

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  • Dianne

    It's easy to remove the ability here: Lock Your Doors! I've always kept my doors securely locked at all times – no exceptions. Remove the opportunity. Look out for yourself, don't wait for a crime to happen, then say "but it never happens here!!!' It happens *everywhere* because there's opportunity everywhere.

  • ᙓᔕᙅO

    Remember that case yesterday when that lady walked into the gas station's store leaving her baby in the car and someone stole the car leaving the baby in the bushes down the road unharmed?
    Please be very careful and notice your surroundings, no one's immune to crime.

  • David Kaye

    The only good thing about the case of the car theft w/kid is that the car thieves had more concern for the kid than its mom – at least they didn't keep the kid and risk its safety. You know mom just HAD to stop for some booze – that's why she didn't have time to turn off the engine (a ticket in most cities) or lock the doors or take the kid with her !!

    I was taught to lock the car doors at ALL times whether I'm in the car or not. I still can't believe the number of WOMEN who don't follow this simple, basic safety step (like the idiot at the gas station) !!