Bowie gas station thieves target drivers at the pump

BOWIE, Md. (WJLA) - It’s a crime that takes only seconds - a purse-snatching at the gas pump.

"For that to happen so quick, that's just terrible," says Glenarden resident Andrea Royal.

Police say this particular crime happened twice at a Bowie gas station on Sept. 6.

Officer Nicole Hubbard with the Prince George's County Police says, "They open up their car, they're very quiet, they do it in seconds. They have their back turned, leave their car door unlocked."

While the driver is busy pumping gas, the suspect will crouch low on the passenger side, open the door, and then grab the purse while the getaway car promptly starts rolling.

"That's what they look for, if you're not paying attention. Then, that's pretty much when they're going to get you," says Largo resident Michael Simmons.

Moments later, it happens again, just feet from the oblivious, unsuspecting driver.

"When you have your belongings and valuables out in plain sight, here again, it's a crime of opportunity," says Officer Hubbard.

But Glendale resident Karen Christopher vows it wont happen to her. She pumps her gas with the car locked, her purse inside, and key in hand.

"I try to be paranoid, not a victim," she explains. "I was mugged 35 years ago, so I try to be very aware of my surroundings, who's around me"

Paranoia at the pump may just be a good way of avoiding becoming a victim.

"I'll make sure to keep my purse hidden and my windows up," says Andrea Royal.

"Just to be more aware, in the end, that's all it comes down to," adds Michael Simmons.