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Thieves Slide Into Cars, Steal Drivers' Property At Southwest Suburban Gas Stations

OAK FOREST, Ill. (CBS) -- It could happen to anyone – you slip out of your car to pump your gas and the thieves slide right in and steal your stuff.

And they don't always just steal the valuables inside – sometimes they make off with the entire car.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, gas stations in the south and southwest suburbs were warning customers Tuesday night.

While filling up at a Gas-N-Go in Tinley Park, Rosa MacNeil admitted she does not always pay attention. Her doors were not locked.

And it turns out thieves are watching and targeting people as they pump gas.

"If I'm like this, I'm oblivious," saide MacNeil, as she stood facing the pump with her back to her car.

Such was the case last week at a Thorntons station at 127th Street and Vincennes Avenue in Blue Island.

Video shows a white sport-utility vehicle pulling up, before someone sneaks out the back door. The woman pumping gas does not see the man opening her passenger door and grabbing whatever is on the front seat.

Even after slamming her car door and jumping back into the sport-utility vehicle, the woman pumping the gas remains clueless.

"She didn't even hear the door close," MacNeil said upon seeing the video.

And she's not alone. Police in Blue Island, Oak Forest, and Tinley Park, all have reports of thieves sliding into unlocked cars and stealing phones, wallets, and purses while the driver stands on the other side of the car pumping gas.

"That's very creepy," a woman said.

Signs from police are now posted at an Oak Forest shell station, in which drivers are urged to be alert when pumping fuel.

But in Tinley Park, police said there is a good chance the men spotted in the video are behind three cars stolen recently.

Customers at a station at 194th Street and Harlem Avenue left their cars running with the key fob inside. That is when the thieves pulled up, and someone jumped into the unlocked car and took off.

MacNeil now knows what to do.

"Lock my doors for sure," she said.

Police said a white sport-utility vehicle is connected to these thefts and other stolen cars. No weapons were used or implied.

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