By Bianca Fortis
“Sliding” is the newest scam New Yorkers should watch out for, according to Christopher Manson, captain of the 104th Precinct.
Sliding usually happens at a gas station when the victim is pumping gas or walks away to pay inside the store, Manson said.
Unbeknown to the victim, the thief drives up next to a targeted car and opens the front passenger-side door while the victim is preoccupied. The thief then steals possessions from inside the car and drives away before the victim realizes anything has happened.
The phenomenon has made national news.
At a media briefing last week, Manson said sliding has happened three times over the summer within the confines of the 104th Precinct, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth.
All three incidents occurred at the Hess gas station at 80-07 Cypress Ave.
From the first victim the thieves stole an iPhone.
The second incident was a botched robbery — the thieves only got away with a bag full of baby supplies — but just a few minutes later, another incident occurred at the same gas station, in which the robbers made away with a Galaxy cellphone and $400 cash.
Manson said there are currently no suspects.
“This is a growing thing, it’s the newest thing that they do,” Manson said. “So we encourage all people — lock the doors. The entire crime takes about five seconds — that’s how fast it is.”
Manson said it is unwise to leave valuable items in open view in the car. Instead, drivers and passengers should hide items, or bring them inside the gas station, especially women with purses.
Another common scam is the “Your Relative Is in Jail Scam,” wherein a thief lies to a victim, usually an elderly Latino person, and says that the victim’s relative is in jail, Manson said. The thief will say the relative needs bail and will ask for a certain amount of money.
If successful, the thief may be brazen enough to try a second time and pretend the relative still needs a few hundred dollars more to make bail.
Manson said there have been a few successful thefts within the 104th, but it is a scam that is happening around the city.
“They are probably unsuccessful many, many times and those people just don’t call us,” Manson said. “It’s the actual victim who calls.”
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.